Meditation is making its way into mainstream culture, with everyone from athletes to actresses citing it as a necessary part of their lives. It’s a smart addition to your daily routine: Science shows it plays a role in boosting happiness, reducing stress, and improving your overall outlook on life. But whether you’re a newcomer or a lifelong devotee, there’s always room for improvement. Below, experts and high performers offer advice for getting the most out of your next session.
“Meet your meditation as if you were meeting your lover and prepare for it as you would a special date with a special person. Scent your skin with an essential oil, light a candle for softness, and prepare a comfortable seat. End your practice each day when you have the feeling that you could stay there forever. ” —Stephanie Culen, named best yoga instructor by New York Magazine for two consecutive years
"Meditate in a place that makes you feel happy and alive. Since I'm a writer, I love to be in libraries and book stores where I feel connected to my passion. I’ve also started meditating on airplanes. With the white noise of the engine and being so far from the hustle and bustle of city life, I can have a few moments alone to quiet my mind.” —Jennifer Pastiloff, yoga instructor based in L.A.
"Start meditating during an activity you already do every day. The biggest mistake one can make is to think that an enlightened or meditative state is cultivated by practices other than what you already have access to.” —Andrew McAuley, yoga instructor based in D.C.
“I practice transcendental meditation with the help of an app. I love it because it automatically blocks out time on my calendar and reminds me to meditate.” —Judy Greer, actress
“Just sit for five to 10 minutes a day with your eyes closed and no agenda. You’ll find that you experience great insight and inspiration.” —Deepak Chopra, spiritual guru
“When your thoughts come in, let them come. Don’t push them away, deny them, or try to control them. Using a mantra gives you somewhere to go so you can be in the thought, come back to the mantra, and keep going back and forth. Whenever you catch yourself thinking, just come back to your mantra.” —Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times best-selling self-help author