Jan 2014

Lose weight sitting down

Today is my little brother’s birthday.  Here we are as kids and at my wedding.  He’s always been my bigger, little brother;).

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When my brother was about twelve years old he came home with a Buddhist meditation book from the library.  No one in my family had ever mentioned the Buddha, meditation or mindfulness, nor had he been studying it in school.  I’m convinced he was a monk in his past life.

Since then he’s been meditating twice a day for ten minutes each time.  Now my brother is not a zenned out yogi.  He’s a normal guy who’s a movie writer.

I always thought this habit was unattainable and frankly, a waste of time.  What good does sitting on the floor for 20 minutes a day do?  Well, what I’ve discovered in the past 5 years is that it matters…a lot.

When I was at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a friend of mine invited me to a group meditation class with Gabrielle Bernstein back when her group coaching was just 30 women sitting in a circle on her living room floor.

The craziest thing that happened when I started meditating regularly is that I lost a ton of weight.  Here’s what happened:

1. Mediating for ten minutes a day helped my overall anxiety to go way down.  Having the stillness in the morning gave me the opportunity to clear my mind and connect with a higher power which allowed me to have more trust that everything was going to be fine.  Before mediation I used to eat to calm my anxiety, now since my overall anxiety is lower, I no longer need food to numb out.

2. It became easier to pause.  I used to hate having open time.  I felt guilty for not being productive and didn’t like being with myself, so I often filled the space with mindless eating.  Now it’s easier for me to just hang. I can sit on the couch without a bag of chips to entertain me.  And if I have the drive to eat a pint of ice cream, I have the skills to just wait five minutes and see if the urge passes me by.

3. I created a relationship with my body. Below I am going to walk you through how to meditate but the basis of it is breathing.  I’m a terrible breather, probably because I was so disconnected from my body for so long, and I bet my constant sucking in of my stomach put the kibosh on belly breaths.  But when I started meditating, I was forced to breathe deeply and it really connected me to my body.  Feeling my abdomen fill with air, imagining liquid golden light pooling in my belly and actually paying attention to the energy in my uterus made me stop being a walking head and allowed me to connect with this amazing vessel that I live in.

When I connected with my body two things happened.  One, I started to really feel when I was hungry and when I wasn’t, even when I wasn’t meditating, and it became much easier to tell what my body wanted to eat.  Two, I developed a strong intuition.  You see, our intuition is literally our “gut instinct” and originates not in our brain but in our gut.  When we are out of touch with our bodies, we have no access to our intuition.  I started to get strong feelings about what to say and where to go.  Listening to these urges was hard at first, but eventually I learned to trust them.  My intuition led me to have more fun, more ease and more romance.  Life just got easier, and I no longer needed to medicate my confusion, overwhelm or boredom with a bag of chocolate chips.

If you don’t know “how” to meditate, here’s my simple process.

1. Don’t over think it, meditating is not complicated.

2. Sit in a comfortable spot. It could be cross legged on the floor or on a pillow, sitting on your bed or curled up on your couch with a blanket.

3. Set your phone timer for 5-20 minutes.

4. Close your eyes.

5. Breath in and out, and focus on your breathing.

6. Thoughts are going to come, they will always be there, try to just pay attention to your breathing.  DO NOT get mad at your thoughts for being there, just let them hang out with out you giving them a ton of attention.

Here are a few ways to spice up your mediation practice:

1. Start with a prayer and ask to receive some clarity during your meditation.

2. Do some manifesting by imagining your dream house or meeting your soul mate for the first time.

3. Do a guided meditation.  I love Gabby’s, David Ji’s, Deepak’s, Lisa Guyman’s and my coach, Elayne Doughty’s.

4. Walk a labyrinth.

5. As you breathe in imagine golden light pouring in through the top of your head, as you breathe out imagine sending it to someone you love.

6. Imagine yourself playing on a beach, laying in a hammock or tanning on a dock, whatever brings you serenity.

In the comments below I’d love to know:

1. If you currently meditate, what tips do you have for us and what changes have you seen in your life?

2. If you do not have a mediation practice, what are you excited to try? And what’s been holding you back?

I can’t wait to hear from you!



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  • Meditation is having an amazing impact on my life and my stress levels, I love getting into bed, sitting comfortably, taking deep breaths and imagining waves coming in and out with my breath. It’s curious to see what thoughts come into your head by themselves when you aren’t forcing anything, great blog post sarah! 🙂

  • Trude

    Thank you Sarah for todays blogpost! I have been wanting to meditate for years but I apparently have big problems taking me the time for it.. I have a 2,5 years old daughter who is a wonderful distraction and interrupter of “me”time. But today i will start my meditation practise! No matter what!
    So thank you Sarah for giving me a reminder and a kick in the but on connecting to my desires!

  • Wow this is great. I wish they would teach kids meditation in school, imagine what a different world we might live in <3

  • I guess the most difficult thing is to make meditation a habit and stick to it, considering that the positive effects of meditation might not be very quick but are definitely long-lasting. I personally found it very helpful to make meditation a non-negotiable part of my morning routine. It all starts with a decision. If you decide to brush your teeth, you will brush your teeth. Same with meditation. Decide to invest these 10 minutes into your long-lasting well-being and do not cheat yourself.

  • Anna Purinton

    Hi Sarah,

    Another type of meditation that I love to do is the Sun Salutation — it is a type of moving meditation that is linked with the breath, and is particularly wonderful for people who get antsy while sitting still (like me sometimes!)

    And yet another type of meditation that I do is called Celestial Communication — I believe that its origins are from Kundalini Yoga — it is a type of meditation done with music and hand/arm movements that you can learn or even make up.

    Thank you for your posts!

    • Anna,
      I love Sun Salutation! That’s how I start my mornings and I like to end it sitting and closing my eyes to get my mind right.

  • Sarah,

    I love this topic. I meditate a LOT – in bed, at my desk, in the car (when I’m not moving!) and wherever I am, really.

    I used to suffer from mild anxiety, and even now when it creeps up, I know how to handle it.

    My secret to calm is, as you mentioned – guided audio meditations!

    There’s something about the audio aspect that really helps tremendously. I feel so held and supported when I listen to someone I love guiding me through the process. And it makes it so much more accessible I think, and easier to get centered – even in the midst of a (noisy) storm!

    Adore Gabby B and Deepak 🙂 And meditating on the golden white light has changed things big time for me by energetically connecting me to source energy – it’s groovy stuff.

    It took a long time for me to feel at home in my body – and meditation has been the biggest help in me loving myself at every moment, exactly as I am, where I am.

    Thanks for sharing! This was all so spot on. xo

  • Hey Sarah 🙂 I love this post. Really well said.

    A couple weeks ago, I went to a guided meditation by Orkie (really powerful – check it out at orkie.com) and at the end of the meditation, Orkie shared that meditation isn’t an activity that we check off the list and then go back to everything else. It’s a time during the day that we experience a higher state of consciousness, clarity, and connection.

    Although simple, this was a total ah-ha moment for me. Meditation may happen more easily when I am sitting on the floor of my room, and I can also be in a state of meditation when on a walk, in the subway, or when I’m waiting at a restaurant before my friend arrives.

    Breathing and “be”ing can happen everywhere – and it’s changed my life in so many ways. Stillness. Clear mind. Happy heart.

    Love you!!

  • Great topic! I learnt TM (Trascendental Meditation) but stopped a few months in..now I just pick a comfy spot, pick a couple of affirmations (I have everything I need tends to replay a few times a week) and sit still, breathing deeply and gently for 15 minutes…Before I started I though 15 mins would feel like an eternity but it goes by quickly and I find that I want to get up around 14.45 mins!! It makes a difference to my day and I allow thoughts to flow in – I don’t want it to be a stressful experience..if something comes to mind I let it and then I pick up the pace again!

  • When I started my eating disorder recovery one of the biggest pieces that came up over and over was the power of meditation.

    I have to admit I hate it. I couldn’t do it perfectly. My mind goes all over the place. I can’t have a dedicated practice that would be holy, spiritual. Thank goodness I have come to terms that it is an imperfect practice.

    A few things I have learned that I do well when I am part of a group meditation. There is power of just being present. In my daily life, my meditation practice happens when I am walking. It’s the space where my mind quiets down and I am able to tap into my intuition.

    I have learned over time the power of meditation is that is allows me to be present and practice love and compassion with myself.

  • Jill

    Hi Sarah,

    Growing up the word ‘meditation’ was linked to a certain group of people. The church I attended spoke so badly about it that I think it affected me even attempting it. I am in a new church and the pastor is constantly referring to scriptures that support the idea of being still – waiting – a different way to pray etc.

    I found some great music combined with waves crashing on the shore that help me to get myself to a time of stillness.

    Another big thing that helps is putting on a headset when I’m listening so I’m not distracted by other noises around me.

    One point you made is that it can be as short as 5 minutes to longer if time allows. I think initially I was caught up in the idea of how long and lack of time but everyone has 5 minutes. And setting a timer is good as well.

    So for those out there reading this who have never tried – perhaps set a time like 5 to 10 minutes of just being still – instrumental music might be the venue that takes you to the stillness.

    And yes – don’t forget to breathe!

  • ah, LOVE this topic. I spent most of my life terribly indecisive but started including 10 minutes of meditation almost every day this summer. Since then I have experienced a lot more clarity around the path to my purpose which has made decision making INSANELY easier. Personally, I love going into meditation with a question and find that even if the answer doesn’t come to me during those 10 minutes, it comes to me soon after- if I remember to keep listening for it. Guided meditations are awesome if there’s something specific I want to work on like forgiveness and radiating love in a time of fear and stress.

  • Anne

    I have meditated in every way you’ve suggested….but not on a consistent basis. I also believe visualization is powerful but certainly understand how it’s not the same as a quiet mind which allows spirit to speak to us. One of my most powerful experiences was walking a labyrinth. I took off my shoes and spent the entire walk inward asking myself why I did hat as I had to step gingerly to keep from hurting my feet on the stones and mulch. When I got to the inside of the circle, I sat down and earnestly got quiet. What came was this answer: “you took off your shoes in order to get the fullest, richest experience. And in the labyrinth as in life, when you want the richest experience, sometimes it’s painful temporarily. But the pain gives way to growth an deeper joy and connection. And isn’t that why you’re here? Yep! Exactly.

  • I also leaned TM and while I love it and really noticed a huge difference when I praticed it, I found the goal (of two, twenty-minute sessions per day) overwhelming. I have a FT job, young twins and a business! I’ve always been very “black & white,” all-or-nothing, so when I found I couldn’t reach the goal, I just quit. Lately I’ve been working on being more gentle with myself. And more realistic 🙂 Instead of setting a goal that may not be attainable for me now at this stage in my life, I’m trying to set aside just 5-10 minutes per day and so far, it’s working. I love meditating in the morning, but if the school rush is too crazy, I close my office door and make the time during work. I also recently did a guided meditation from Hay House in my car in front of Startbucks! I feel the difference when I make this space for myself!

    And I love the comment by Jessica about how it shouldn’t be just another thing I check off my horrendously long to-do list! Thank you for that. XOXO

  • Dani

    Add a mantra! It can be as simple as “I AM” or more intricate as in a Sanskrit mantra. Repeat the mantra outloud at first, switch to a whisper, then silently repeat it in your mind. 🙂 A mantra will help focus your mind as well as invoke the desired energy or feeling associated with the mantra. Ask your yoga teacher to prescribe a mantra or simply think of some words, thoughts or feelings, such as “love, abundance, health, grace, forgiveness, etc. Sanskrit is wonderful because they are the seed sounds of spoken language and connect us to the universe. Xo Email me if you’d like a mantra! Daniellewellness@gmail.com

  • I wasn’t going to open this blog but glad I did! Meditation has also changed my life. In fact, I also wrote about this today. http://www.drsweta.com/whats-it-like-to-meditate . I often get asked what it feels like so I’m sharing this for any of you who feel its to hard to get a practice or not sure what the purpose of meditating is. I use Deepak Chopras guided meditations and I close my ryes and ask the Universe to guide me to choose the one with the message I need to hear – it gives me real guidance.

    Great post!

    P.s I too have lost 20 lbs since my practice, it’s one of the key elements to my sacred ritual toolbox 🙂

  • What a great post an guide. Fantastic links too. I will be fwding this to a few people who are interested in meditating but don’t know where to start you de-construct it perfectly and de-mystify it without sounding dull. Thank you.

  • thank you sarah

  • Great blog post. I’ve wanted to try meditating for so long and haven’t gotten time nor idea how to start. Now I’m definitely going to try your suggestions 🙂 Your posts are always wonderful!

  • This is right on time! I recently set a daily reminder on my phone to meditate for 5 min every morning. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t. Your post is a great reminder of why it’s good to do it daily. Thanks for the PUSH…

  • love this sarah.. i’ve been meditating for over 10 years as part of my yoga practice, and I’ve found the best thing I ever did was make it non-negotiable.. just like brushing my teeth, i do it every morning no matter what.. usually for 20 minutes, but if i only have 5, then that’s what I do.. door gets shut and everyone knows not to open it unless the house or themselves are on fire. ; )

    it’s helped me move through the world with much more grace and acceptance, and pause before I act or react to something..

    It truly is a life- changing practice, and I recommend it to every one of my clients.. the easiest way to start is to just do a breath focused meditation- that way you are inhaling and exhaling and focusing on the rise and fall of the chest, etc.. and you know if your mind has wandered away from it. and if it has- no judgement, just bring it back to the breath.

  • Shannon Busby


    Thank you for this…yes I do guided meditations and I absolutely love them. This is a nice reminder because sometimes I get home late from work and grocery shopping to go straight to making dinner; etc. So taking 5-10 minutes before anything else would make a huge difference! I also sometimes go upstairs on the roof of our compound..(I live in Africa right now) and sit in the lunge chair, watch the sunset and breathe in and out as deeply as I can…sometimes I close my eyes and just sit there, listening to the ocean.

    This has made a huge difference for me. I actually have each class put their heads on their desk when they come in and listen to the soft music I have put on and just rest for a bit. They LOVE it! I am going to do a guided meditation for them as well…they love the down time and now they request it! they are so much happier and more focused in class when we start it this way.



  • I was trained in TM when I was 10 or 11, but haven’t used it consistently. Now I usually meditate with a combination of Reiki, crystals, and even TM to help bring my focus back. I find that guided meditations don’t really work for me.
    I found an app called Insight Timer at insighttimer.com (just sharing, no benefit for me). It gives me stars for every 10 consecutive days that I meditate. Those silly little stars keep me going and I’ve now meditated 142 days in a row.
    I appreciate being able to take 5-15 minutes for me. I’ve been tracking my blood pressure before and after and it generally drops anywhere from 2-15 points afterwards.

  • Megan

    What holds me back? Fear! Fear that I am doing it wrong, fear of the unknown, fear of the fear. Sad right?

  • I love this, Sara. I regularly meditate in the mornings to Jon Kabat-Zinn guided meditations. It completely changes the trajectory of my day. Instead of immediately going to my email, I start the day with purpose. I also use my Pilates practice as a sort of meditation. The mind is so occupied by performing precise movements, that there’s no room for anxiety to creep in. 🙂

Sarah Jenks

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