Living an Integrated Life ➳ Dr Anna Ferris Young on Vedic Meditation

vedic meditation introduction with dr anna young ferris

Have you ever bathed your nervous system in bliss chemistry? It feels like a deep deep peace, like a gentle reminder of feeling still, safe and held. It’s taking a pause from the chaos of modern life, to just ‘be’.  It’s this experience that’s what draws a lot of people to Vedic meditation including myself. So I talked to Dr Anna Young Ferris, an experienced Vedic meditation teacher about this calming, consciousness building practice and we had a beautiful conversation for my Well Woman podcast. I’m sharing it here for all of you beautiful readers. Enjoy xo Sulin

Dear readers, this is an abridged version of a really good, luxurious chat. For the full episode listen to Part 1 and Part 2 on my podcast Well Woman.

Sulin: Today I am thrilled to have Doctor Annie Young Ferris with me in the studio to talk about all things Vedic meditation. So Anna is a Vedic meditation teacher and she’s an academic specialising in bringing consciousness to business. That’s not it, though. She also teaches Vedic meditation to help women break free from the stresses of modern life and define their inner calm. As well as raising 3 delightful children and inspiring us all the way along, welcome Anna.

Anna: Hi Sulin, delighted to be here today.

Sulin: So Anna, we caught up this morning for a really beautiful beach walk and I wanted to ask you because I know this is a big part of the Vedic philosophy and practice. What was your morning routine today?

Anna: So that is a great question. Every day can look different, but today was actually one of my kind of ideal morning starts to the morning. I woke up around 5:00 AM and I scraped my tongue, an Ayurvedic practice to help remove toxins, then I brushed my teeth. I also splashed some water on my face. And then I jumped back into bed to meditate. Generally if I’m not doing a deep kind of Sadhana (daily practice which involves me going down to my studio) I’ll meditate in bed, which is really comfy. I have quite a long program these days. I’ll do my vedic meditation for 30 minutes and I have an advanced practice after that, another 30 minutes. Then I get up and the children start to wake up by that stage. So that’s, you know, around 6:30 -7am. I’ll sort them out for going to school and then I like to try to move the body and do some exercise. So that was why it was great that we got to. Catch up and go for a walk.

Sulin: That makes perfect sense because you were glowing this morning and I’m now thinking, yep, that would have been such a luxurious morning. So I’ve got you in today to tell my beautiful listeners about the benefits of vedic meditation. Why don’t we start with….. 

What is vedic meditation?

Anna: So vedic meditation is based on a 5,000 year old tradition that began in India. It’s a beautiful mental tool or mental technique where you gently repeat a mantra, a sound or a vibration inside the mind. And it helps you to just really come to your centre to relax and transcend the monkey mind, so to speak. Ideally when we start we meditate for 20 minutes twice per day and it really just gives us that opportunity to ground to create that mental space that we’re all really in need of in our very demanding Western lives. You don’t have to leave anywhere. You don’t have to go on a holiday. You can have this little mental holiday twice per day, ideally, and it just, you know, watch, watch the benefits unfold as you know, being one of my students, you can also talk to those benefits as well.

Sulin: Absolutely. So for all of my listeners, I met Anna in 2022. And it was just after my father passed, and I really needed something to help me manage my anxiety. Isn’t it interesting how life traumas can set in motion disease in the body? And I that was the point for me. I remember telling you, I feel really anxious all the time. That was when I learned the Vedic. Meditation technique in Anna’s beautiful studio in Newport, which is such a sanctuary.

vedic meditation technique dr anna young ferris

Anna before our interview in the front garden of my home. [Sze, 2024]

What the research says about Vedic meditation for stress

Sulin: What would you say would be the top benefits of vedic meditation that have come out of the research?

Anna: There are  several scientific studies that talk about the benefits of Vedic meditation and meditation in general on the physiology. So just helping with things like sleep is a massive one, managing hormone levels, and managing the effects of the many demands we put on our bodies.

Sulin: Exactly it’s all interconnected, isn’t it? Even if it’s just the hormone cortisol that we’re looking at. And then oestrogen doubles as a stress hormone. So yeah, there’s such a such a powerful interplay there between stress system hormones.

Anna: Exactly. One of the beautiful benefits of a regular meditation practise is it’s actually your chance to bathe your nervous system in the bliss. When we’re in that fight or flight mode, the sympathetic nervous system mode, and there‘s the adrenalin and the cortisol kind of pumping around your body…. you know, the science backs up now what the ancient yogis (Sages from 5,000 years ago) knew about the importance of honouring and looking after our nervous systems. For example, in a Vedic meditation session, when you’re sitting and meditating and gently repeating the mantra (you know you’ve had the right instruction and the right teaching and you’re practising in the correct way), you’re able to bathe in those bliss chemicals. The serotonin, the dopamine…

Sulin: Mmmmmm, the Oxytocin is another one

Anna: ….and that’s also when the healing the healing happens because you know the mind and the body are so connected.

Sulin: And I guess in this day and age for a lot of women, particularly in the mid life, so the late 20s, thirties, 40s, early 50s. That chemistry takes a bit of a beat. Thing that’s definitely been my personal experience as I get busier and I have more responsibilities and maybe there’s health issues thrown in there and then you have change and the loss of loved ones and whatever we can do to regenerate that bliss chemistry, we should be doing.

Bathing in BLISS chemistry? Yes please!

Anna: I think you’ve noticed that I have a lot of students that are similar to me. We’re busy. We run businesses, we have full-time jobs, we have children, we have very active social lives. There’s no kind of break from that business. And that’s when the fatigue or the stress, the anxiety can impact the nervous system, which then may manifest in health issues. So if we just gift ourself this practice, it’s giving back to yourself. One of the big misconceptions is “I don’t have time”, but actually when we get into a regular practise, you’re gifting yourself so much healing. So much mental clarity, combating fatigue, boosting brain coherence, so you’re able to be much sharper and clearer from meditating. One of the benefits students talk about when they first start learning to meditate is the clarity around problems that have been ruminating. Around 97% of the thoughts are ones that we incessantly think! We’re expending all this energy in thinking and doing.

Sulin: It’s definitely having a moment right now isn’t it, vedic meditation? And I can see why 100%. When I sit down to do my daily practice, I feel like it’s kind of delicious in a way. It feels like I’m just moving into these waves of bliss.

Anna: It’s so juicy when when you’ve been practicing and meditating regularly. Pieces of the waves of bliss, which is what we call the transcendental aspect of the meditation, where you’re transcending beyond the busy thinking, doing mind, and you’re going into that calm reserve of stillness within. There’s nothing I love more than sitting down for my afternoon meditation, I look forward to it so much I block out the space in my diary and it’s just the most beautiful thing and the most beautiful gift. Sometimes people can feel like “I don’t have time. I’ve got so much on my To Do List.” But actually, if we reframe it to be actually developing a relationship with yourself and with your higher self, why would you not prioritise that?

Anna: Another point I wanted to share is that a lot of students come to me, they’ve tried other techniques and they say “I can’t meditate because I can’t stop the thoughts”. One of the great benefits and aspects of Vedic meditation is that it’s based on an ancient 5,000 year old tradition, yet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who bought the practice to the West in the ‘50s, made it fit the householder lifestyle. You and I, we are householders, we live in the world, we have children, we have jobs, families, pets, you know, social lives. I’m all for bringing meditation to everyone and all for the apps. But I think what can happen with those is you might put an app on and do it on the bus and have a nice experience… but once you’re ready for a distinct technique, Vedic meditation is incredible because it’s these 20 minutes twice per day have been proven to allow the busy kind of Western mind that ability to reach into those states of bliss reach into the transcendence. This practice is just so beautiful and there’s other practices and ways and techniques, but I find this one the absolute gold standard for realising that that bliss is right there within you. That divine is there within you and and you just need to sit and meditate twice per day to open up to start opening up those channels and then watch the benefits unfold in your what we sort of call the material world or the relative world? I love things like the pausing. When you’re trying to make a decision and instead of reacting in probably predictable ways, you can actually pause, and think “Hang on a minute. Do I need to react in that way? Or can I respond?” The more we meditate, we build up this deposit of energy and so that then when life throws you these challenging situations you can tap into this adaptive energy store and respond in a way that is more graceful than perhaps if you weren’t meditating.

Sulin: I think it’s important, and this is quite Vedic as well, that we have good food to nourish our bodies and really good spiritual practice to nourish our soul and mind.

Anna: We’re whole beings, and that’s the beautiful thing that I’m realizing, it’s all integrated and everything can be done in this mindful and connected way, there’s no separation. Nearly 25 years ago I first started looking at sustainability in corporations and bringing conscious awareness to business. Dare I say, bringing that divine connection, to realising that people just need to treat each other kindly humanely and protect our beautiful planet? And that’s pretty much what I do. I teach my meditation students, but also corporate clients and university students. And it’s actually kind of one journey that I’ve been on, raising that consciousness, raising that awareness. We’ve been very siloed into this kind of mindset of just making profit, and we’ll do it in such a way that will then harm cause harm to others and cause harm to the planet.

Sulin: This idea of the integrated life that you were talking about. What would be your top tips for the women listening? On how they could live a more integrated life.


vedic meditation dr anna young ferris

Anna meditating [Sze 2024]

Anna: I think honouring themselves is number 1. And it’s not selfish, you know, looking after yourself. I look after myself so that I can be the absolute best for my children, my husband, family, friends, colleagues, students and my community. So absolutely top tip would be look after yourself, self care and that could come in the form of meditation, looking after your mental and physical health, eating the right foods, taking herbs when you need them, exercising, all the things we know. And once you’re healthy and well then it’s much easier than to give to your family, your friends, your community. Whatever it is that’s being able to give service is really so fulfilling. One of my beautiful teachers in India. Sri Sakthi Amma says humans are the only species that can help others. This is a remarkable quality, so to be gifted a human life is such a gift.

What it’s like to attend a vedic meditation course

Sulin: So what is it like to do the Vedic meditation?

Anna: The course is taught over 4 sessions. In the first session students bring their fruit and flowers. And we have this gorgeous ceremony to honour the tradition. I didn’t invent this meditation, I’m just a vessel passing on the knowledge and so grateful to be able to gift this and do this work. And then next  we really just experience the meditation. You’re given your personal mantra. That first session is just about the experience with your mantra and people can feel that bliss in that very first session. Then you go away with some homework, which is to meditate.

In the second session you come back to the studio for your first knowledge session which is about the practical part of meditating, where the tradition came from and how it’s different to other types of meditation techniques. The third session is probably, I always say my favourite, but then they’re all my favourite! That’s where we explore mind body connection, and look at what’s actually happening with the mantra and how the mantra is  that vehicle that’s unlocking stresses in the nervous system and allowing you to transcend beyond that kind of superficial thought layer of your thinking mind.

In the 4th and final session, students graduate. And that’s really about what to expect with their eyes open. We’re not meditating to be great meditators. We’re actually meditating to be great at life. The meditation is really just that that process allowing and facilitating the process for stress. To remove it from your physiology. When you graduate you’re essentially a self sufficient meditator.

anna young ferris and sulin sze

Hope you enjoyed this interview! Here’s Anna and I at Newport beach, always lots to talk about :)!! Take care everybody and don’t forget to tune into Well Woman. It’s on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and more. See the Well Woman page for more info. xo Sulin

Sulin: Also tell us, Anna, where can people find information about you?

Anna: The best place my website Also Instagram. I am on there regularly. I’m not a daily poster by any means, but I try to definitely keep connected with my community there and you know share share the events you can reach out to me. There my handle is just at Anna Young Ferris. And sign up to my database. I send maybe 2 emails a month.

Anna has a special offer for Well Woman listeners too!

Sulin: Ohh my gosh. OK, tell us all about your special offer.

Anna: So for the beautiful well woman listener, just mention this podcast and I would love to give you $100 off one of my Vedic meditation courses.

Sulin: That is so generous of you. Thank you! on behalf of all of my listeners and.Everybody. It’s it’s such a beautiful technique, I would really love this for you. So thank you, Anna. That is just beautiful.

Anna: Thank you so much for having me.

Sulin: It’s been beautiful having you here. I want to thank you, Anna, for spending this time with me and making time in your busy schedule, which you’ve done so graciously, sharing the art of Vedic meditation.

Anna: Thank you. I love what you’re doing. It’s just beautiful to see this podcast. And yeah, what you’re sharing giving to your community. It’s just beautiful to see you blossoming.


How to contact Anna Young-Ferris: 

For the latest dates for courses, introductory talks and Anna’s beautiful offerings, please see her website. 

Hey there! Welcome to my world of totally natural and powerful healing medicines. Medicines from nature. Medicine from Source. I’m a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience working with a range of health conditions including hormonal, metabolic, mental health, sleep and more.

I’ve brought together years of clinical and teaching experience, academic skill and curiosity to bring you this blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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