Panchakarma in New Mexico

ah. processing panchakarma. Ayurvedic detox and rejuvenation. I just returned from a week at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque — Dr. Vasant Lad and Ed Danaher. Slathered in oil for days from head to toe. Treatments with ghee and herbs. No TV, no radio, no computer, no facebook! Just me, the therapists, the oil, Muktananda and Mararishi Mahesh Yogi (books, not in person – but maybe spiritually present!) I’m writing in these weird, incomplete sentences because I can’t really form the thoughts just yet. All I know is that this was my third panchakarma in a year and a half, and the effects build up one upon the other and it’s deeply — and simply — profound. more to come.

about my ayurveda classes…

Now that I’€™m a Chopra Center Certified Instructor, I’€™m proud to announce my first classes! The Perfect Health Through Ayurveda 5-week course will begin on Wednesday, January 14 through Wednesday, February 11, at 7 p.m. You’€™ll find plenty of details on events page about the classes, which will includes learning about all aspects of Ayurveda, a 5000 year-old healing system from India.

Ayurveda is Sanskrit for the wisdom of life. It offers a proven guide for a life of happiness, vitality, love and purpose. Health is a state of vibrant balance in which all layer’s of ones life are integrated. Through nutrition, meditation, yoga, and honest deep communication we’ll create a consciousness of awareness which will bring us back to our natural state of balance. You will feel better, sleep better, look better and love better.

If you’d like to learn more about my journey with Ayurveda, see breath take a look back in the archives for my blogs from the past year. You can also call me anytime with questions. See more at the Chopra website:

The five-week course is $325, including materials ($300 if you sign up and pay in full before Dec. 15). Class size is limited for a more personalized atmosphere. 

India – thoughts and prayers

What a shock. How sad. The news from India about the attacks in Mumbai are horrific, confusing, confounding and horrible. I never turn the TV on in the morning but it was the first thing I did when I woke up. Maybe meditating or journaling would have been a better choice, but I just had to see what was happening. It’s like a prolonged 911. It seems to have no end. And the beginning is so ambiguous. How? Why?  One of the best interviews I’ve seen so far was Deepak Chopra on Larry King Live last night. He removed his trademark red, sparkly glasses and looked soberly deep into the camera and asked questions that need to be answered such as Who is funding these attacks? What political organizations are responsible? Don’t play the blame game. Use this opportunity to seek a creative solution. See him at A country of one billion people. Million of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, hundreds of thousands of Buddhists and Christians and a few hundred Jews. It’s an amazing amalgam of the world. I don’t know what to say except I’m just so sad. “The urban terror in full fury” I just heard an Indian reporter say.  It’s Thanksgiving here in the US. As with most of our National Holidays (as opposed to the religious ones?) it’s based on a myth, a made up story. The United States has been so good at creating myths and asking us to buy into it (literally BUY). Just look at Columbus Day.  Anyway – what comes out of this holiday is rather pleasant. A reason for families to gather. An opportunity to look inside and feel grateful and thankful. For that, I’m thankful for the holiday. A day off to reflect. A day of quiet and peace – for us, for me here in Baltimore. A time to ask – really ask – for world peace. A time to feel unbelievably grateful that our country came together to elect Barack Obama. A time to pray that Obama is able to get a handle on this world and will be able to find those creative solutions that Deepak speaks about.  May you all have a peaceful Thanksgiving today and every day.

certified or certifiable…a fine line

So I’m back from the Chopra Center and the swanky La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California. This was for the completion of the Ayurvedic course I’ve been studying for the past year. The course was daunting – something like eight books to read by Deepak Chopra and David Simon, eight DVDs to watch and so much Sanskrit! The week was a combination of yoga, meditation and testing – both presentations and a written test. It was so intense. Much more so then I would have expected. There we 26 people in my group – down from 56 who originally signed up and just didn’t make it through for whatever reason. The wonderful group I was with had people from all over the world and from so many walks of life including a number of physicians, mental health people, teachers and those just strongly wanted to share their knowledge of Ayurveda with their world. As I said to one of my new friends I made there, Tanya, while we were cramming for the final exam – “I feel like I’m having an Ayurvedic meltdown!” I was eating too much, (I ate cheese cubes! Haven’t had that for like a year – tasted awful. Cheese is disgusting), I was nervous and stressed, and so singularly focused on the exam  – so attached to the outcome! I was losing sight of the beauty of Ayurveda and my surroundings. It was tough. I missed my store, my cooking, my house. But in the end, of course, it was worth it. We all made it through and come Saturday evening I was watching a gorgeous sunset on Swami Yogananda’s beach in Encinitas. It was stunning. Then we ate Armenian food! The people were amazing. What an experience. So now I’m all certified as a Chopra Instructor! It’s been such a journey. August 25, 2007 I went out to the Chopra Center for the first time to do Panchekarma (Ayurvedic detox and rejuvenation). I walked back into the Chopra Center on Nov. 1, 2008 almost 50 pounds lighter and so much wiser and at the same time humbled by all I’ve learned and will learn. I’m deeply connected in Ayurveda – I feel like layers of knowledge were being un-covered as my body got smaller. Knowledge from past lives of Ayurvedic wisdom – the piece that was missing in my years of yoga and meditation practices. I found it. It found me. And now here we are. The first series of five “Perfect Health Through Ayurveda” classes that I will be teaching begins on Wednesday, January 14 at 7 p.m. I’ll continue to teach classes throughout the year. The cost will be $65 a class ($325 for the series) which includes a workbook and materials. Class size is limited to 20 keep it intimate. What a gift. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Deepak and Barack

It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything here. That’s probably because I’ve been so busy and slightly overwhelmed preparing for the Ayurvedic Certification week at the Chopra Center. I’m in the middle of it now – out here in Carlsbad, California at the Center (located at the La Costa Spa and Resort. It’s very beautiful). I haven’t been a  “student” for a very long time. Lots of memorization and presenting segments of classes to my study mates. It’s been an interesting process and I’m learning so much about myself in relation to Ayurveda. Our final written exam is on Saturday morning. Send me “smart” vibes please! In Sanskrit and English!Last night (Tuesday, Nov. 4) besides the obvious jubilation for Barack Obama – Deepak Chopra visited with us for about an hour.  (I’ll write more about that later.) Needless to say it was quite a night. Obama blew me away with his acceptance speech – such a elegant, beautiful man. I can say the same for Deepak. So my night was filled with magical, dark men! Who could ask for more. I guess I could ask for a bit more of that! more soon…much love to all

The Church of Spiritual Humanism. I’m ordained!

So, I’ve decided to become an ordained minister! It took about 2 minutes, but I put a lot of thought behind it before going to the website! I’ve so many amazing people through the bookstore and many of you have asked me if I know anyone who can perform  wedding or commitment ceremonies. I just know one or two people…but I got to thinking – I love these people! I could do the ceremony for them! so – now I really can. If you are interested let me know and we can talk about it. Susan Weis is an ordained member of the clergy of The Church of Spiritual Humanism Date of Ordination: September 29, 2008 Ordained by R. A. Zorger, President ****************************************************** CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME! The Church of Spiritual Humanism is happy to inform you that your ordination request has been reviewed and approved, and you are now an officially ordained clergy member. You are now entitled to all privileges and courtesies normally offered to ordained members of the clergy. The record of your ordination has been entered into the official permanent records of the Church of Spiritual Humanism. Ordinations by the Church of Spiritual Humanism are for life, and are awarded completely free and without monetary charge. As an ordained member of the clergy, you are hereby authorized by the CSH to officiate religious rites and ceremonies, including marriage, baby naming, funeral services, invocations, and holiday ceremonies, as permitted and subject to the laws and regulations of your country, state, and municipality.  It is important that before you officiate any civil ceremony (such as marriages), you know and comply with all laws governing your locality. The Church of Spiritual Humanism promotes religion based on reason. As a member of the CSH clergy it is your charge to strive to base your actions on, and influence others to be motivated by, deliberation and reason and not the irrational, emotional, or subjective. Furthermore your responsibilities are to peacefully follow the proper course of action, and to avoid infringing on the rights of others. You alone are responsible for your actions as a member of the clergy. You may also be interested in visiting the independently run Spiritual Humanism Forum at

Indians Love their Babies

This thought just keeps swirling around my head. I never saw a stroller in India. I saw parents holding their babies everywhere. Passing them on to other relatives. Kissing them. Tickling them.  Smiling into their eyes. Never letting them go. Indians love their babies. On the trains, in restaurants, at tourist sites, walking on the street – moms and dads holding their kids’ hands, reassuring them, cuddling them, nuzzling them. I was so struck by the love, the acceptance, the humor, the smiles, the eyes. Such beautiful, amazing people. 


And then there is this lovely tradition of Indians wanting to have their photo taken with foreigners. I can just imagine their photo albums filled with faces of white strangers – “Look ! We met these lovely people at the Taj Mahal. They love our country.” Schoolboys on a field trip shyly approached us at the Agra Fort – “photo?”  Soon most of the class was upon us, crouching down to form rows to fit them all in! Families on vacation from the south, “photo?”


Often we would take photos of the kids posing for us – they didn’t seem that interested in seeing the digital picture – they were just so happy to have their photo taken! It was so sweet.


But back to the Indians loving their babies. I mentioned this to a woman on the trip and she said everyone loves their babies. I wish that was true. What I witness everyday on 36th Street, in the neighborhood where my shop is, makes me doubt that sometimes. I know they love their babies – but they most certainly don’t know how to express it. The aggression and anger I see from these parents is heartbreaking. I know it’s the way they were raised so I fear their kids have no chance. I rarely see love and affection between mothers and their babies on 36th Street. I see anger and frustration. I see drinking and smoking. I hear yelling and cursing. I wonder why it’s this way.


So this is why I was so struck by the love and warmth I saw in India. The biggest smiles I’ve ever seen were on the faces of these children held so closely by their mom or dad, or auntie, or uncle, or cousin, or friend. Passing babies back and forth from one loved one to another – never letting them go. On the airplane from Newark to Delhi. On the train from Delhi to Amritsar. In the market place in Jaipur. On the colonial streets of Shimla. In the quiet pathways in Dharamsala. By the Ganges in Haridwar. I’ll never forget this. Indians so love their babies. 


to see photos from the trip, go to, search for susan weis, and proceed from there… 


the Taj

Hello! We are in Agra now, the land of the Taj Mahal. Ok – so we had just come off a 14-hour overnight train ride, it was really hot and there were a million people there, so I’m thinking my impressions are a bit muted. It was beautiful. It’s so symetrical! The carvings in the stone are so delicate – I think I prefer the details over the masiveness of the building itself. Oh my – that’s just like India! It’s in the details as I wrote on a previous blog. So- I see! The Taj Mahal could be seen as a symbol of the country- massive in size. Overwhelming to the senses. But the real beuaty lies in the tiny carved flowers in the marble, inlaid with lapiz and amber. More musings on that later! we leave for Jaipur today and on Tuesdsay we head to the airport in Delhi and home by Wednesday morning! I haven’t been able to blog as much as I wanted to. Haven’t been able to do a lot of things I wanted to – like meditate regularly with the group, do more yoga, have a bit more time in certain places. But that’s Inida. Expect the unexpected. Like life. It’s been a busy trip. Ambitous. We saw so many things but I wish we had more time in each place. Bus rides, train rides, altitude changes, hot and cool weather – we’ve seen extremes on all fronts here. I’m looking forward to coming home and really thinking about what we’ve expereinced. It’s hard to do it while still in the middle of it. One thing for sure – this is a cleaner and greener India then it was last time I was here. It seems the cities are less hazy, fewer people smoke, and less poly bags flying around. I’m really impressed. Even going up to the Taj the deisel powered bus stays in the lower parking lot and a battery-bus takes you up to the site – smart!! So in our last days here I plan on absorbing as much of India as I can. I haven’t had a chance to write about some things – such as one of the travelers in our group being attacked by a monkey in Shimla, (she’s OK but has to have rabies shots) or the shopping (pretty good!) or many the amazing sites, sounds and people that we’ve met. more to come. time to go. much love to all! please excuse spelling errors! no time to proof..

it’s in the details

India. It can come on so strong. But I’m finding that if I look at the details I can better understand the country. A billion people live here. How can one comprehend that? If you talk to one person at a time, notice the kids playing on the road, the flash of a safron colored sari in the market place, it gets easier. Today we are in Shimla in North India. When I opened my curtains at the amazing Oberoi Cecil Hotel there were monkeys scampering all over the roof top. There are signs everywhere not to feed them! today we’ll explore this North India town. the weather is blessedly cool. For the past two days we were in Dharamsala – the Tibetan government in exile. I was surprised at how small the town was and how unassuming the Tibetan offices were. Sort of a hodgepodge of official offices nestled into a small square. The town is bustling with activity and we saw more tourists and travelers here then I’ve seen in other places. I really enjoyed the shops and walking the streets. I did find some goodies to bring back to the shop including  singing bowls and dorje bells. The Tibetan influence felt light here – I was only really on the streets for a day, but the only place we saw prayer flags was at the complex where Tibetan handcrafts are made. We met Tangka painters including a man named Tashi who explianed this fine, precise work to us. I’ll have picutres to post when I get back. So I’m going to take a swim in the in-door pool here at this amazing hotel before we set out for a day of exploring. So far no site of any Bollywood stars here. We were touched by the excitement of Bollywood in Amristsar where superstar Sha Roukh Khan was staying at our hotel. It really was exciting and fun to be caught up in the chaos of Bollywood. more soon! susan

It’s Hot!

Namaste from Amritsar, the Sikh capitol of the world. I’m on a computer that doesn’t compute very well (I think all the techies are helping you all in the US!). So I’ll quickly write an update here…The flight was great – smooth and seemingly fast for a 14 hour plane ride. The group became fast friends and I could hardly get their attention to make announcements – that’s only gotten worse (or better depending on how you look at it!) as we’ve gone on!Our first day was a whirlwind tour of Delhi – many impressive temples and sites. The manager of the travel agency I’ve been workin, Unni, with took us out to dinner last night with our guides Sanjeve and Vinay – it was lovely. And this morning after a 5 a.m. wakeup we cheerfully made our way to the Delhi train station and boarded the Shabtabi Express to Amritsar. the air-conditioned car and constant food and tea service was very nice. We were the only tourists on the car as far as we could far the trip has been seemless. The expected chaos of Delhi was not as intense as I’d remembered. the people have been so gracious. But it is hot!! Even the monekys and cows are just labouring along in the heat.We are taking a little break right now to settle into the MK Hotel in Amritsar. We might go for a swim, then some shopping and a ceremony at the Golden Palace. Tomorrow we will spend the day exploring this glorious site.We were able to get in some meditation at the Newark airport of all places! but have been on the go since then. Hopefully we’ll be able to schedule in some time to continue  our exploration of our crown chakra in the land of the crown chakra.Please excuse spelling errors, etc. as I want to ge this posted before the electricity goes out – which it has done a few times. The rooms even have candles in them for that porpose!We are having the best time. the mood is light. the people are fabulous and India is amazing. It seems a lot cleaner and less hazy then it was two and half years ago when I was last here.  We are only on day three and awaiting new experiences and enjoy the moment immensely.more soon!namsate,susan et al