A Conversation About Mindfulness And Meditation With Tara Stiles

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 moveable 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, 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:

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