What's the best time to meditate?

We recommend meditating first thing in the morning if you can. It’s a nice way to start the day and is usually the easiest time to find a few undisturbed minutes. The most important thing is to pick a time that works for you and try to consistently meditate at that time.

How do I find time to meditate?

Try to anchor your practice to another part of your routine, like brushing your teeth. Wake up and think: meditate, brush teeth, drink coffee. And don’t be frustrated if you miss a session. It happens. Just start right up again the next day.

Where should I meditate?

No need to hike to the nearest mountaintop. Any reasonably quiet, comfortable place where you’re not likely to be interrupted is just fine.

What should I wear to meditate?

You can wear whatever you like so long as you’re comfortable. It also helps to take off uncomfortable shoes and to loosen tight clothing, like ties or belts, if they’re bothering you.

How do I sit during meditation?

Sit in the middle of a chair with your legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor and hands resting on the legs or on your lap. The important thing is to set your body up in a way that your muscles are able to switch off and relax.

Can I meditate lying down?

We generally recommend sitting instead of lying down. However, if it’s too painful or uncomfortable to sit upright, you’re OK lying down. Try placing a thin pillow under your head and bending your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. It’ll help protect your lower back.

Is there a particular way I should breathe?

When we meditate, we’re not trying to breathe in a special way. Just allow the breath to be completely natural.

How do I start meditating again after a break?

It really depends on how long you’ve been away. If it’s only been a few days, just pick up right where you left off. If it’s been at least a week, we recommend restarting the pack. If it’s been more than a month, you should probably do the Basics pack and get comfortable meditating again before you jump into anything else.

How would you explain the concept of mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the innate capacity of your mind to be aware of this moment, just as it is. While that sounds simple, most of the time our mind is only partially aware of the moment we are living. We are distracted and/or busy worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. – Janice Marturano

What misconceptions do most people have when they hear the term mindfulness?

The most common one that we hear is that mindfulness means ‘having a blank or empty mind’. Or that if I am mindful, I will not experience stress. Neither is true. When we teach ourselves mindfulness, we are training our mind’s innate capacity to be with whatever arises in our lives, including those things that create stress. The difference is that we now begin to learn to see the ways we can respond to moments of our life, rather than react. And we begin to learn to see the ways we actually make things worse by imagining horrors of the future, or hang onto the replays of the past.

What are some beginner techniques for people looking to start a mindfulness practice?

Start with a cup of coffee-actually sit down and experience what it is like to really drink a cup of coffee. Smell the aroma, feel the warmth, experience the taste, etc AND every time your mind starts to worry about the upcoming day, or relives the conversation from yesterday, redirect your attention back to this moment…the only moment you can truly live, and the only moment you can truly affect. We call this an example of taking a Purposeful Pause.

When you feel ready to try something else, try sitting still for 5 minutes and just notice what your body is experiencing-warmth, coolness, feelings of the breath, touch of the chair against your body, etc. AND redirect your attention when the mind wanders away.

Notice the AND in both of the examples above-it is this redirection that is the beginning of our work in developing a mindfulness practice and a mindful leadership practice.

How can a mindfulness practice enhance our everyday lives?

It is a powerful way to develop our mind and learn something more about how we are choosing to live our lives. Just as we know that we can train our bodies to be stronger and more resilient and more flexible, we know that we can train our minds. At the Club, we will teach a curricula that trains our mind and heart to be more focused, clear, creative and compassionate. We believe mindfulness allows us to live in joy and lead with excellence.

What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a way to enhance your ability to be mindful, to be more present for your life and to make more conscious decisions.

Who in particular can benefit from mindfulness? Who needs it the most?

Everyone benefits from mindfulness training but be careful of the ‘shortcuts’ out there. Just as learning to train your body to play soccer, for example, requires dedication and someone to teach you the right fundamentals, training your mind is also something that should be taught by a skilled, experienced teacher.

Is there a proper way to breathe when speaking about mindfulness?

Mindfulness training is not about changing anything-including your breathing. The breath sensations can be used to train your mind but you need only pay attention to the sensations you feel as the breath enters and leaves your body. No need to change how you normally breath.


Our playlist to relax your mind

Join the Harvard-Westlake Parents Mindfulness Club