When meditation guide Desiree Pais (who also happens to be the mastermind behind the natural beauty line Benshen) bopped into the mbg office last week with a huge smile on her face to lead a guided meditation, it was very clear that her daily meditation and Kundalini yoga practice were doing her a ton of favors.
Her energy was magnetic, her complexion was bright, and her guided meditation left the entire staff feeling clear-headed and light.
Just as she was getting ready to head off to her next event, Pais spilled a few meditation secrets and tips.
Pay close attention, because you'll want to use these:
1. You only need three minutes to meditate. Seriously.
I think a lot of what scares people away from meditating is that a lot of sources say, "meditate for 20 minutes a day." And that can be daunting to someone who has never meditated before.
When I did my second yoga teacher training in Tibetan Buddhism five years ago, we were required to meditate for 20 minutes every day. I hated it. I was the worst student. My teacher almost didn't let me graduate because I never did my meditation practice. When I began the Kundalini yoga practice, you only needed three minutes for so many of the meditations. That's nothing! So, my first practice was the Ego Eradicator for three minutes per day, and I noticed profound shifts.
2. You're allowed to bribe yourself if you don't feel like meditating.
There will be days when you just want to give the finger to meditating. And guess what? It's totally human. I have those days all the time.
Sometimes I literally just have to tell myself, "one foot in front of the other" and robotically put myself onto my cushion. Other days I have to bribe myself, like, "if you meditate you can have your favorite iced coffee today." Whatever gets you on the cushion, just do it. And make it fun.
3. You don't have to close your eyes to meditate.
You can be walking down the street and chanting "Sa Ta Na Ma" with each step, and you wouldn't want to close your eyes then! Actually, in our lineage different meditations have different eye gazes: closed gazing up and in toward the space between the eyebrows, eyes almost completely closed looking down at the tip of the nose, and eyes open.
But if you're trying to just clear your mind, I think closing your eyes for a few moments is best so you can tune inward and be less distracted by outside stimulus.
4. Meditation doesn't always feel good, and that's OK.
Sometimes meditation feels really, really bad. But I have incredible role models and teachers. I see them and what the practice has done for them and I want that for myself. And I know that feeling uncomfortable for a little bit during my meditations is a lot better than feeling uncomfortable in my life, career, health, relationships, and so forth.