February 02, 2018

New Year, Whole Me : Meditation and Mindfulness

Author and Meditation Coach Ali Katz shares the benefits of meditation and tips on how to start.

New Year, Whole Me

Hi friends! We’re back today with our final installment in our “New Year, Whole Me” series. We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from experts in both nutrition and fitness. And now we’re bringing you a meditation and mindfulness expert who shares the importance of meditation and tips on how to bring a meditation practice into your life (even if you’ve never meditated before!). 

Ali Katz is an best-selling author, motivational speaker, and meditation coach, and we’re thrilled to have her here today to round out our wellness series. 

Take it away, Ali!

By now just about everyone knows that meditation is good for you. Living a more mindful life is all the rage, and we can hardly watch the news or read a magazine without hearing about meditation.

If you are curious about meditation it helps to understand the basics of the practice so you feel more confident getting started.

In order to be successful at anything, we have to understand why we are doing it. For example, losing weight because your doctor said you should may not be enough. To stick with your new healthy habits you need to take it one step further and think about how you will feel– will you have more energy to play with your kids, or feel stronger and more confident?

One of the many reasons I love meditation is that it touches body, mind, and spirit, and although there are too many benefits to list in one article, I will highlight a few of my favorites:

  • helping to regulate your sleep patterns and digestive patterns
  • helping to increase learning, memory, and focus
  • increasing self-compassion and compassion for others
  • helping you to respond vs. react to situations
  • lowering feelings of anxiety and stress
  • increasing self-confidence and connection to your intuition
  • boosting your immune system

I can’t say exactly what will happen for each individual meditator, but I can guarantee it will be good. I’ve never heard anyone say that they liked themselves better before they started meditating!

Meditation is about living a better life. Everything we practice on our cushion (or couch, or bed, or wherever you like to sit!) we get better at off our cushion, too.


3 main ways that meditation trains your attention

1. Learning to focus on one thing at a time

The very core of meditation is about settling down your nervous system and focusing on one thing at a time. When we get better at this during our practice, every relationship and experience we have improves because we can truly be more present.

2. Cultivate present moment awareness

Meditation trains your attention to stay in the present moment instead of constantly ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future. We gain more awareness of where our thoughts go when they wander, so that it is easier to catch ourselves, and refocus on the present moment.

3. Learn to focus inward

It is easy to feel pulled in a million directions. From work deadlines to family obligations, people today are busier than ever. Meditation allows us to take just a few minutes a day to fill ourselves up so that we can be a better mom, wife, friend, employee, and everything in-between.


Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to meditation because the benefits are cumulative. It is better to meditate for five to ten minutes every day, than twenty minutes twice a week.

You have the best chance of forming a meditation habit if you are consistent with when you meditate and where, so pick what you think will work for you and try it. Definitely go with the “date it before you marry it” theory. If you try a time and place and it doesn’t work, try something else.

Many people like meditating first thing in the morning so they can start their day from a centered and mindful place, and take that energy into their day. Others like to practice at the end of the day to release whatever stress has accumulated during the day. There is no right or wrong, simply what fits into your life and feels good to you. The best thing is that you can’t mess up!


Tips on Meditation

When you meditate you want to sit up nice and tall in what I call a “dignified position” which means upright but not uptight. Be comfortable. Your feet can be flat on the floor or you can sit cross-legged. You can be in a kitchen chair, on your couch, or a cushion on the floor. Anything goes! I don’t recommend laying down to meditate unless you are trying to fall asleep, because if you are the least bit tired you most likely will end up taking a nap instead of meditating.

Most people feel intimidated and overcomplicate the practice in their mind. The easiest thing to do, especially for beginners, is to simply pay attention to your breath, and when your mind wanders (which it will!), without judgement simply return to your breath. Your breath is your home base. You can use the simple mantra IN/OUT as you breathe. On your inhale think IN, and on our exhale think OUT.

Let me break it down for you:

1. Find a comfortable seated position.

2. Set a timer for how long you want to meditate. My favorite is the app Insight Timer.

3. Rest your hands on your knees or in your lap.

4. Close your eyes and begin to take a few nice, long, deep breaths.

5. Let your breath return to its natural rhythm.

6. Begin to think IN as you inhale, and OUT as you exhale.

7. If your mind wanders, notice this without judging yourself, and come back to your breath.

8. Mediate until your timer goes off!

Once you get started you will quickly see how much more centered, present and focused you feel.

To learn more sign up for my FREE 5 Day Guided Meditation Challenge. Every day for five days I will send a guided meditation right to your inbox. You will experience different types of meditation and you will have access to them forever!

To learn more about meditation, self-care practices and tools, and bringing mindfulness to your family, get your copies of my best-selling books “Hot Mess to Mindful Mom: 40 Ways to Find Balance and Joy in Your Every Day” and “Get the Most Out of Motherhood: A Hot Mess to Mindful Mom Parenting Guide.”

A Few More Things

We hope you’ve loved our “New Year, Whole Me” wellness series. We sure enjoyed taking this journey with you. We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback below.

Make sure you didn’t miss the nutrition and fitness installments of this series.

And did you catch our courage cookies yesterday? Can’t stop thinking about them!

Have a great rest of your day and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

All photos shot on location at DEFINE Living

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *