Inspiring & Insightful: Rohan James
Today I’m excited to bring an amazing interview to you with the awe-inspiring happiness guru Rohan James. Rohan is a Vedanta Yoga Instructor, Life Coach and Author of ‘The Yoga Revolution’ and most recently ‘I just want to be Happy’.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Rohan for many years and have always known him to exude total happiness, health and wellbeing. So with great pleasure, introducing Rohan and his journey to a fulfilled life.
Can you tell us about your background and how you found your love for coaching people?
I grew up in the suburbs as a “sports nut”, if it involved moving your body, I did it. I competed in running; I played soccer, tennis, cricket, Australian Rules football and golf. As a teenager I became captain of the school cross-country running team, I was captain of a suburban cricket club, captain of the school cricket team, captain of a prestigious golf club pennant team and I was vice captain of a suburban football team. I didn’t really like school that much as far as what I had to learn etc. but just the same I did study enough to be close to a straight “A” student until midway through Year 12. I enjoyed the social aspect of school, but basically I was a sports mad over achiever of the highest kind.
About halfway through my final year of high school I became depressed and my last half-year at school was a massive struggle for me because my enthusiasm for life had disappeared and I had difficulty concentrating. Even though I new something wasn’t right with my health, I still pursued my dream of becoming a professional sports person and I was able to manage and control what was happening within my biology just enough to be able to make this happen. It was during this time that I began devouring books about personal development. The first book I read (in 1989) on this topic was “The Magic of Thinking Big”, by David Schwartz. This book revolutionized the way I saw the world and how things around me worked. I used his techniques and suggestions to achieve my goal of becoming a professional golfer and while competing on the tour I continued to study scores of books in this field to keep me focused and to keep me moving forward in my career. It was during this time that I became fascinated with how the human mind and psychology works. As I continued to read and learn more, I also found that people would often tell me their whole life’s story on first meeting with me and ask for my advice. I was happy to listen and pass on what I had been learning. Each time I did this it seemed to help the other person and it also made me feel good too. For the last 25 years I have continued to help people and continue to study and learn about the human being, the world and how it all fits together.
What is the biggest professional or personal challenge you have had to deal with in life? How has this changed the way you deal with things?
I have had many professional and personal challenges, as we all do. The biggest challenge for me has been with my own biology. For many years I knew something wasn’t quite right (I am sure a few people around me during this time would agree). The health condition I first experienced at the age of seventeen and plagued me for twenty-five years was Clinical Depression. The interesting thing about this condition is that it affects the whole central nervous system the symptoms can vary a lot. At one point I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and three years later I was hospitalized with “nervous exhaustion” (a nervous breakdown) because the over achiever in me kept ignoring the telltale signs that something wasn’t right. I had to consciously my manage mood swings, my digestion and assimilation was in turmoil and this resulted in constant “a lack of energy”.
I am thankful for this experience now because it kept me hungry for learning and understanding how things work in particular us as human beings. I now understand that anything and everything is possible when you understand the underlying principles of how the world works (including us). Having had this experience and therefore this understanding, it now allows me to with the flow with life rather than trying to “beat” it, as I did when I was the young over achiever.
What do you do daily to nourish your body and mind?
My daily routine involves a morning practice of charging up the vital energy within my body and eating very simple basic food. For example my favorite dish is boiled brown rice with steamed cabbage! This is what happens when you live according to what is best for you rather than ignorantly feeding your senses with instant gratification. I stretch and move my body everyday and I continually assert and re-assert within my mind of who I truly am and I consciously “feel good”. If I am not feeling good, I consciously do something to “feel better”.
Can you describe your day on a plate?
I live a very simple life. I wake, do my morning routine to charge my vital energy, eat a simple breakfast and then I will either write or be assisting someone with their life. I finish my day with another routine to clear my energy of the day’s goings on. I surf as often as I can and the frequency is determined by how much writing I am doing. I hang out with family and friends on the weekends.
Who or what inspired you to create changes in your life and to become the person you are today?
My physiological condition that I described above and also I have always wanted to be everything that I can be. I have always been one to grow and to keep on growing. If I am not growing and expanding, I feel confined and restricted and when this happens I change something so that I can get back to growing again. The most inspiring person I have ever met (and trained with) is Professor Yong Qiang Wang, the 24th Master of the Emei School of Chinese Qi Gong. If you have not spent time in the company of a true (and I mean true, there are a lot of charlatans out there) Qi Gong Master, it is something you should put on your bucket list.
What is the greatest advice you can give to a person to help them find
inner peace and happiness?
Happiness is an inside job! Happiness also doesn’t just “happen”; to become truly happy you must do the work. We study hard to become a lawyer, a tradesperson, a doctor or whatever so that we can make a decent living, i.e. to exist, but how much time and effort do we put into becoming truly and totally happy? Happiness is a choice as some people will tell us, but there is also work that must be done at a subconscious level to stabilize this happiness, otherwise your “house of happiness” could fall down at any time.
A good place to start is to learn to get quiet on a regular basis. Go for a walk in nature, take a relaxing bath or simply sit in the dark in your room and become acquainted with your internal wants and needs. Then discover the part of you that is your true intuition, i.e. not your intellect and not your emotions; it is something subtler than these aspects of yourself. Develop your intuition as your new best friend and advisor and you are well on your way.
Can you tell us about your amazing new book “I Just Want to be Happy!” and how it came into being?
This book is the culmination of twenty-five years study, practice and experimenting in the areas of personal development, psychology, quantum mechanics, yoga, qi gong, sacred geometry, spiritualism, religions and shamanic cultures. I wanted to understand the different approaches to human happiness and wellbeing, initially to find ways and methods for my own health and wellbeing, but then as I learnt and experimented more I began to realize that all of these various approaches to wellbeing and happiness all have the same underlying principles. I see these different approaches and philosophies like hikers climbing the same mountain from different starting points; as the hikers get higher and higher up the mountain everything starts to look the same for all of them. These are the Universal Laws that are the basis for all of the philosophies, cultures and religions. These laws can now be proven scientifically.
In this book, “I Just Want to be Happy!”, I have packaged up these scientifically proven Universal Laws that affect the largest of stars, the smallest of particles and everything in between, including us, in a way that everyday people can understand how they work. I then show how they can be applied into one’s own life.
In addition, to explaining the workings of the Universal Laws and how they affect your life, I have created what I have called The Human Happiness Model. The Human Happiness Model works in perfect harmony with the Universal Laws and is comprised of eight components that make up the inner workings of any human being. By developing and balancing the eight components within oneself, all or any “circumstances” can be overcome and replaced with unshakeable inner peace and contentment, i.e. this book contains a blueprint anyone can use to develop their own unshakeable Happiness!
Rohan, you look so young and vibrant. What are your best tips for staying happy and young as we grow older?
Our current lifestyle wears out our bodies much faster than ought to happen in a much more balance lifestyle than what we currently have. In amongst my research I found claims of some people living 300 years or more and some claims of others becoming immortal by following certain training programs. Not many of us have the time to devote to such practices so with that in mind here are some tips that can be easily incorporated into anyone’s lifestyle for greater health and vitality:
1. Eat simple food in small quantities – our digestive systems use an enormous amount of energy to digest and assimilated food, so eat simple food! Food that is as close as possible to the way nature intended. The food can be raw or cooked, that is personal preference depending on what works for your body type. Eating meat is fine if you enjoy eating meat. Servings ought to be about the size of your stomach (roughly the size of one of your clenched fists). Ouch! Yep, have a think about how big your stomach really is and how much food you try shove into it at any one sitting and wonder why you feel tired, bloated or get gastric reflux afterward. If you want to age fast – overload your stomach with a lot of food and make it all processed food for good measure. I’ve found Katrina’s book Raw Addiction a wonderful resource for learning about preparing simpler foods.
2. Develop good sexual practices – when we are born we receive what is called Pre Natal Essence from our ancestors and this essence is stored in our kidneys. It is understood in Traditional Chinese Medicine that once this essence is exhausted we die. Stress and overwork draws excessively on this essence but the most damaging activity for depleting this essence is unconscious frequent sex. Keep enjoying sex but enjoy sex consciously and regulate how often you orgasm. There is more information about this in my book “I Just Want to be Happy!”
3. Breathe deeply, fully and slowly – our emotional state is directly connected to our breathing patterns and the slower and fuller your can breathe the calmer you mind will be. The calmer your mind is, the less energy you use in your day to day activities which in turn means that you will have more available energy for your body to heal itself. Breathing in this manner will also induce more restful sleep and you will spend more time in the deep sleep zone (Theta) in which most of the healing of the body takes place.
4. Learn how to truly forgive and forget! – we all know that “thoughts become things” and unexpressed resentment is one of the most detrimental things to your mental health, your physical health and the integrity of your body.