I had the pleasure of interviewing PEDRAM SHOJAI, Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Pedram is the New York Times bestselling author of The Urban Monk, author of The Art of Stopping Time, founder ofWell.org, host of The Urban Monk podcast and filmmaker of the documentary, Prosperity.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path as a doctor or healer?

I was on my path to becoming a medical doctor and entered a crisis. I was interning at the UCLA hospital and saw lots of care with little curative function. I realized that the medical system was waiting for problems to emerge and then fix them (for triple the price) instead of averting all that pain in the first place. That’s what drove me to Eastern Medicine and preventative and functional medicine.

How have your personal challenges informed your career path?

Absolutely. I became the senior student of a Kung Fu master and got pulled into a lineage of energy yoga and meditation. That helped formulate my world view. When you see a problem, you look straight at it. When I saw what was broken in healthcare, I realized I couldn’t fix the system from within so I made my first film and created another path for people to get healthy through lifestyle.

Can you share five pieces of advice to other doctors/clinicians/healers to help their patients to thrive?

1- Tackle stress- make them take mindset seriously or nothing else you do is going to stick

2- Diet before pharma- always look at the daily things in their life that can be modified for the better before moving to additional interventions and costly action

3- Challenge their reality — look at the world outside. IT is crazy and sick. You must educate the patient about toxicity, stress, and imbalanced living or they’re doomed to fall into a pit and need much more help getting out.

4- Nature is the teacher — get them outside hiking, taking in sunlight, breathing fresh air, and returning the the elements.

5- Of course, take care of yourself first. You must be full and come from a place of “health abundance”. Live the lifestyle you preach and teach by example.

Social media and reality TV create a venue for people to share their personal stories. Do you think more transparency about your personal story can help or harm your field of work? Can you explain?

Only if it holds you more accountable for your actions. If you take a 30 day challenge and step outside your comfort, your community can encourage you along. If it becomes another place for people to moan and sit idle, it’s wasted energy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?

“Fall seven times, rise eight. Life begins now” — the Boddhidharma

This applies to everything. Had a piece of cheesecake? Ok, that doesn’t mean lean into it and keep “sinning”. Every decision is one in the right direction towards more love and life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

You vote with your dollars. Where you spend money and what you spend it on are giving energy to the people and companies in that supply chain. If you want to see a healthier, cleaner, and more just world, then spend your money with those that share and practice your values.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: pedramshojai
Facebook: pedramshojaiurbanmonk
Twitter: PedramShojai
Instagram: urbanmonknutrition


  • Bianca L. Rodriguez, Ed.M, LMFT

    An Authority on Spiritual Psychology + Mental Health

    Bianca L. Rodriguez, MA, Ed.M, LMFT is a soul whisperer, innovator and nationally syndicated columnist on the topic of mental health and wellness. Her expert opinion is highly sought by media outlets such as Bravo TV, New York Post, Huffington Post and NBC News. After receiving her MA and Ed.M in psychological counseling from Columbia University in 2005, Bianca had a spiritual awakening and realized despite her struggles with alcoholism, anxiety and depression she was complete. For the next decade Bianca developed her unique brand of psychotherapy integrating traditional and mystical interventions becoming a prominent leader and teacher in the recovery field. Upon meeting Bianca you'll be inspired by her effervescent spirit. Join her at www.youarecomplete.com