by Lisa Cohen
Nutritionist, Snowmass Club
Here’s why I am such a big fan of starting the day with meditation:
When I meditate my day goes better. I have more energy and I feel less stress. I am more creative and focused in my work. I have more patience. I am kinder to myself and others.
Many of my clients resist starting meditation because they “can’t sit still”, they “don’t have time” or they don’t think they are “doing it right.”
I can totally relate to those challenges! For years, I just dabbled with my meditation practice. I KNEW that meditation was an important key to my overall health and wellness, in the same way that exercise and nutrition are essential components. But I didn’t have the same powerful habits in place for daily meditation as I did for my exercise and nutrition routines. Creating the HABIT was the key for me to finally start meditating daily even though I had tried a million times before.
My practice is super simple:
I wake up an hour earlier than the rest of my family. (Don’t worry, you can meditate at any time of day that works for you!) It just works best for me first thing in the morning, and I find that I am more rested after meditation, than if I got that extra hour of sleep. I get a cup of coffee, and sit down in the same spot every day, spine aligned, legs crossed. I bring my attention to my breath. Sometimes I use a mantra like ‘So Hum’, if my mind is really wandering around and I need to gently steer it back to my breath. My goal is to meditate for 5 minutes, but I usually sit for 20-30 minutes. That’s it!
Here’s how to get started:
- Get Settled: Find a quiet place where you can relax.
- Breathe deeply: Take five deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, on the last exhalation, close your eyes.
- Check in: Settle into your body. Align your posture and take notice of how your body feels.
- Scan your body: Turn your mind inward and take note of your body from head to toe, acknowledging any tension, and relax those areas. Then turn to your thoughts, notice what comes up without trying to alter them.
- Bring your attention to your breathing: You can count each breath, one (in), two (out), three (in) and so on, or use a mantra. If you notice your mind wandering just gently bring your mind back to the counting or the mantra.
Sometimes, I listen to meditation music on Pandora.
Sometimes, I use guided meditations. Here are a few resources that I love:
I have a sweet, 5 minute gratitude meditation on my blog: Practicing Gratitude
On the rare occasion that I do miss my practice – I am just not at my best. But don’t just take my word for it! There is plenty of scientific evidence that suggests that meditation affects the brain and the body in positive ways; check out the research in the articles below:
Lisa Cohen is a Nutritionist, Fitness Expert and Health Coach and founder of Lisa Cohen Fitness. She specializes in helping women balance their hormones, boost their metabolism and lose weight so that they feel like the most vibrant version of themselves and have the energy to focus on what matters most to them. Based in Aspen Colorado, Lisa coaches clients nationwide via phone, email and Skype and through her online coaching programs. Lisa has degrees in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Science, and is a Certified Nutritionist and Health Coach trained at American Health Sciences University. You can learn more about her work at: www.lisacohenfitness.com.