How to Meditate

Gisele-Bundchen

I had an extremely alarming early-morning experience a few weeks ago. I woke up in savasana (yoga-speak for 'corpse pose': laying prone, legs splayed, arms at my sides, palms facing up), with my Morihata charcoal sleep mask intact, and—here’s the especially crazy part—before my alarm clock went off. I felt refreshed, ready to get up, and, for the first time before a highly concentrated cup of coffee, awake.

Allow me to paint a picture of the scenario I’ve woken up to for twenty-odd years: asymmetrically twisted in sheets, sleep mask long gone, an hour-plus into “snoozing” my alarm, and groggily getting out of bed when I’m certain that if I sleep a minute longer, I’ll be fired. Oh, and unable to form full sentences until about an hour later when the coffee really kicks in.

So… what the hell was happening? Well, I meditated before I fell asleep. Yes, I went there! And it’s not as hippie-dippy as it sounds. After listening to Rolf Sovik’s downloadable Advanced Yoga Relaxation, wherein he verrrrry slowwwllly talks you through drawing your focus to your breath, and then relaxing each finger, toe, joint, facial feature, etc. individually for fifteen minutes, it was like someone had hit the mute button on my never-ending internal dialogue. And, with my mind quiet(er), and body relaxed, I fell into some serious REM-cycle sleep.

When I told the Gloffice about said experience, they all wanted in. All you have to do is listen to a meditation podcast? Sort of. I figured I should share my experience with all of you, too. Because stress never looks good on anyone.

I called up the Himalayan Institute and Yoga International’s treasured meditation guide, Rolf Sovik, who, after hearing how I'd woken up so peacefully, laughed and said, “Of course! Imagine what your body would be like if you didn’t shower for two weeks.” Just as that riveting image was imprinted on my brain, he drove home the point: “You need to cleanse your mind,” he said. “And you can do it anywhere.”

Without further ado, Rolf’s theory on the importance and simplicity of mental cleansing, and an exclusive five-minute meditation from Rolf for ITG readers to do on the train/in a cab/at your desk/in your bed/wherever:

Relax: “It sometimes seems odd that we must learn to relax, but the stresses of daily life can make us lose touch with ourselves. Systematic training makes it possible to rediscover your natural qualities of peacefulness and poise, and to feel confident in your inner-self.”

Don’t Worry, Be Healthy: “A high percentage of doctor visits—some think as much as 70%—have a stress-related component. We don’t need to frighten ourselves about our health, but it is very helpful to use a small amount of time each day to calm our nervous system, gather our mental energies, and experience a period of peacefulness. Through relaxation and meditation we can remain inwardly connected and stable. The cost is minimal, and the benefits are enormous!”

Anytime, Anyplace: “The simplest and most powerful method for calming down in a cab or even in your chair at a meeting is to bring your awareness to your breath. Relaxation begins with breath awareness. Breath after breath, each exhalation releases tension while each inhalation nourishes you. With practice, you can learn to soften tensions by resting your mind on the effortless flow of your breathing. Then, stress and negative emotion pass through you with less intensity. In this way, going from a six to a three or four on your internal stress-scale can feel like a major improvement.”

You guys are looking better already. Next time you can’t fall asleep, can’t catch a break, or just want to hit refresh, take a deep breath, and give our meditation a listen:

**[Ed. note: Rolf’s natural speaking voice sounds exactly like this.]

—Mackenzie Wagoner

Image from Gisele's Instagram.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Chantel

    Wow this is awesome, I am going to try this out!

  • Violaine

    I love this. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.rainandredlips.blogspot.com/ Devyn Hinchee

    Trying this tonight, thanks!!

  • thesixthbeatle

    Lovely post! Relaxation is so important and we so often overlook it. Thanks for this.

  • http://drdevlin.com/ Michael Devlin MD

    Great Information! A portion of Relaxation is vital to long lasting good health. Thank you for posting!
    Michael Devlin, M.D.

  • Chrissabella

    That sounds amazing and thanks for sharing

    Greetings from London,

    http://www.chrissabella.blogspot.com

  • http://kenziewoods.me/ Kenzie Woods

    I needed this, especially today, thank you for sharing!!

    kenziewoods.me

  • http://www.editorialite.com/ Maggie Winterfeldt

    I've heard the case for meditation made very well recently! After hearing this, and suffering many a restless night, I think I'll finally have to try it! P.S. Love the pic of Gisele and baby!
    http://www.editorialite.com

  • nyc_nct

    check out the app "simply being" -- it has changed my life! really good range of different lengths of meditation ... totally effective..

  • Sarita

    Thank you for this! I know that meditation is so important, and yet I'm always saying "I don't have time" (yeah, I'm giving myself the side-eye for that one). But I have the SoundCloud app, so perhaps this recording is the step in the right direction. I'll give it a try tonight.

    [Aside: Gisele is so freaking gorgeous and her daughter is positively adorable!]

  • http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/ Nomadic D.

    Thank for this! My husband just recently tarted meditating and I could immediately see a change in his stress level. I'm going to give it a try myself too. Always good to have new resources and recommendations of ways to try it though, we hear so much about how it's good for us but sometimes it's hard to know just how to start!

    http://www.nomadicd.com

  • Alexandra

    Thank you so much for this! I hope the audio file continues to remain available, his voice is so soothing!

  • Viveka – LIVING THE DREAM BLOG

    I first tried meditation, outside of yoga class, during a hippy-healing-detox-reconnect-with-myself week in Ibiza, and the effects were amazing. You feel so much more grounded and stable when you take as little as 15 mins a day to disconnect and look within. Here's the full story... http://www.livingthedream-blog.com/category/viveka/

  • Liz

    It would be GREAT if the soundcloudfile was made downloadable! Would that be possible? I'd love to put it on my iPod to be able to listen to it whenever needed :)

    • ITGMackenzie

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks for the note! That's a very good point. It's downloadable now. Happy relaxation :)

      xx
      M

  • ikillplants

    Thank you so much, ITG and Rolf. I was in desperate need for a break today, and you just helped soothe my mind and body. Wonderful.

  • http://www.novastyle.org/ Jillian Hobbs

    Very different from the way i've been meditating. Usually in lotus breathing in silence and trying to relax my muscles... this feels so much more relaxing and definitely something I could get into before going to sleep! Can't wait to try!

  • kates

    this is great.

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