How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Life: An Exclusive Conversation With Tara Stiles, Mallika Chopra, & Colleen Wachob
If we want to live in harmony and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be—in our careers, to our families, and with our friends—we need to address the body as a whole. And that begins in our minds.
Reconnecting our bodies with our minds starts with something that is already inside us: our breath. We breathe all day long without even thinking about it, but most of us aren't activating the true potential of this inner resource. Our breath lives within us, it moves through us, and it sustains us. It is at the root of who we are, beyond our own expectations, and it connects us with our true potential.
When we are stressed, our breath is the first thing that's affected. When external tension enters our bodies, our breath becomes short and shallow. We literally hold our breath when we are tense, shocked, or afraid. We have all heard that breathing properly is good for us, but we turn our backs on the power of our breath, instead, functioning on autopilot and struggling our way through. Tension has become our habit.
I believe in a better way. This lyric from Ben Harper's song "Better Way" is a mantra of mine, and I use it a lot when I'm practicing or leading yoga. You can't access the full potential of your breath if you are tense and rigid. But it is possible to train yourself to be relaxed and movable even during times of stress by having a regular practice of mindfulness meditation steeped in softness.
When I consider mindfulness, two good friends rush into my mind: Mallika Chopra, author, meditation teacher, motivational speaker; and Colleen Wachob, co-founder and co-CEO of mindbodygreen. Both of them have helped me personally, along with millions of others, to learn and keep up a mindfulness meditation practice. I recently had a very special conversation with both of them about this topic, in honor of my new book Clean Mind, Clean Body. Here's how they're incorporating mindfulness into their own lives right now and their advice for how to approach this new year:
For a little background on my incredible friends: Mallika grew up learning how to meditate. Her father Deepak Chopra regularly asked her and her brother Gotham to answer introspective questions: Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve? What am I grateful for? I had the pleasure of interviewing her for my book Clean Mind, Clean Body on her experience practicing and teaching meditation. A powerful suggestion she shared is asking yourself why you want to start and keep a meditation practice rather than just trying it because you know it's good for you. Having that very specific reason has been an essential tool for me personally sticking with a mediation practice.
I first met Colleen with her husband Jason Wachob—co-founders and co-CEOs of mindbodygreen—over a decade ago, when they walked into our studio for a yoga class. They were just starting mbg, and I was really inspired by their mission to curate usefulness in, what was then, the beginning of the wellness industry. I loved the word "green" of mindbodygreen, placed where we have seen the word "spirit" live so often. For me, the swap represented something near and dear to my passion, acknowledging that we all are spiritual beings, and it's time to get to work.
Please enjoy my conversation with these two amazing women, above. Hopefully, it inspires you to get real with your own mindfulness. You deserve to feel better.