Peloton yoga instructor Aditi Shah was taught to meditate at around 13 years old. “I was taught to count my breaths and clear my mind. It was very difficult to do, and it frustrated me.” When she got older, though, she sought out books and teachers who could help her find meditation methods that would work with my day to day life. “I experimented with vipassana meditation in high school, and my fascination grew from there. Eventually, I discovered the right teachers of this type of meditation and simultaneously started to study how yoga is essentially about meditation as well. So I decided to dive in.” Aditi created Peloton’s first meditation classes, and once you know what an impact they can have, you’ll see why hundreds of people every day are letting meditation make them better athletes, professionals, and people.
Q: How can meditation be effective even in very short doses?
A: You don’t need thousands of hours of meditation in order for it to be effective. In fact, meditating regularly every day for 10 minutes is more effective than meditating for 10 hours on an annual week-long retreat. Some studies (for example, those conducted by Richard Davey) show the minimum effective dose of meditation to be 9 minutes daily. It takes 9 minutes for meditation to train your brain.
Q: What are some of the main benefits of meditation that carry over into the rest of your life?
A: Meditation changes your brain–it trains your attentional skills, and helps you to develop a more equanimous relationship with your emotions, sensations, thoughts and feelings. In addition, some studies show that regular meditation can create a pattern of greater positive, approach-oriented emotional states.
Q: How can meditation help someone who is struggling with focus or motivation?
A: Your brain has the ability to change and adapt. This quality is called neuroplasticity. By practicing meditation–focusing on one thing and then rerouting yourself back to this focus over and over again–you are changing your brain in a way that helps it to strengthen that muscle of focus. So basically meditation helps you to bounce back from distractions, and to do it with less stress!
Q: What are your best tips for actually getting into a routine for meditation such that you’ll begin to see benefits?
A: There are two major things that will help create a meditation routine. The first is to find a time of day and situation to meditate when you won’t do it begrudgingly. So find a time when it’s not an obligation and a seat that you can truly commit to without getting frustrated or antsy.
The second is to be kind and gentle with yourself. You aren’t going to be perfect the first time… or the first 100 times. There is no perfection. Part of meditation is a non-judgemental approach. So do your best, but get rid of the guilt. Don’t beat yourself up.
Q: What effect has meditation had on your own life?
A: From my personal experience, meditation has a myriad of benefits. I have a greater attention span, more compassion, more patience, and most importantly it has changed my relationship with my emotions. I also sleep better! It has been so incredibly healing to me that I could not help but want to share it with the world. The meditations I write and share are honest and vulnerable. They come from my own practice and my heart. I hope you get as much from the practice as I do.