EP087: Live Your Legacy with an Open Heart (Dr. Akil Taher)

In this episode, you’ll hear the story of a physician who lived according to a “Type A” schedule, until he suffered from angina and needed bypass surgery.

It was at this point, when he was being wheeled into the operating room, that he decided to turn this setback into a comeback. This comeback came in the form of a dramatic transformation in mind, body, and spirit.

Today’s guest, Dr. Akil Taher, tells his story and provides his recommendations for transformational healing in his book Open Heart: The Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains.

The interview yields a dozen “fun nuggets” about wellness, life, and transformation: 

#1:  Heart disease is the number one killer, but can be prevented and reversed.

#2:  Living long is one thing, but living long and well is another.

#3:  Pursue the American dream, but do so in balance (health & wellness with the pursuit of material possessions).

#4:  You can turn a setback into a comeback. 

#5:  Pain is a messenger (for Dr. Taher, pain even merged with pleasure).

#6:  Random acts of kindness are fun ( the caps story).

#7:  Respecting your elders is fun ( the marathon story).

#8:  Making mistakes is fun ( the wetsuit story).

#9:  Live outside your comfort zone.

#10:  Diet is more important than exercise.

#11: Sleep is the best medicine.

#12:  Nature, spirituality, and emotional healing is a key part of the transformation.

Dr. Taher mentions the SKY technique; learn more about it through The Art of Living Foundation. 

Dr. Akil Taher on Turning a Setback into a Comeback

About Dr. Akil Taher

Akil Taher, MD, is a practicing physician in Gadsden, Alabama. He was raised in Mumbai, India, and trained in family medicine at the Flower Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio. 

Dr. Taher is an eternal optimist, explorer, and adventurer, who in 2010, at the age of sixty-one, dramatically altered the conventional script adopted by most bypass surgery patients by undertaking a mountaineering trek to Mount Kailash in Tibet. This was a year after his open-heart surgery. In October 2011, he ran his first full marathon, the Chicago Marathon; and in September 2012, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Over the last decade, he has overcome acute and chronic medical ailments by transforming his mind, body, and spirit through the adoption of a plant-based diet, practice of yoga and meditation, regular exercise, and developing a positive and purpose-driven mindset. 

Dr. Taher is also a speaker focused on spreading the message of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Open Heart is his first book, and it chronicles his exploits since his heart surgery. He is happily married and has two children and an adorable grandson. 

What’s fun for Dr. Taher: Living outside your comfort zone and having fun doing it.

Links for Dr. Taher:






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  1. Akil Taher says

    I was honored to be a guest on your show and can’t thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to spread my heart healthy message. So excited for your readers and others to see and hear this.

    • kathryn@guylay.com says

      What an honor, Dr. Akil, to have your expertise on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story with us! 🙂

  2. Ryan Menezes says

    Meeting with Dr. Akil Taherbhai was, both inspiring and revealing about how much control each of us have over our own physical, emotional & spiritual well being, once we focus on these aspects of our fragile human lives.
    Each of us have the power to transform our lives and live the best life we want & need.
    ????Thank You Taherbhai ????

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