Your Five-Step Plan for Peaceful and Productive Mornings

All the mindfulness, none of the New-Agey mumbo jumbo

By Alex Lauer

Your Five-Step Plan for Peaceful and Productive Mornings
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17 April 2017

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need quartz crystals, moon rocks or whatever the hell “sound healing” is to become a more mindful person.

What you do need is Chill, a “modern meditation” and massage studio that skips the New-Agey hoopla for practical wellness advice, now open in River North.

Chill Meditation 1 (3 images)

First things first: What in tarnation is “modern meditation”?

“The whole reason we emphasize the word ‘modern’ is that it’s less about a dogmatic tradition or position of this is what meditation is or should be,” says General Manager Darrell Jones. That said, they do have a position about what it should be: accessible.

To achieve that, Chill brings together teachers from a variety of backgrounds to hold 30-45 minute classes throughout the day, seven days a week, to accommodate all lifestyles. Split into the three categories — Breath, Insight and Rest — they offer something for everyone, “regardless of their age or socioeconomic level in life.”

But do you need some peace of mind right this very instant? As a meditation teacher for 15 years and a spiritual coach for 9, Jones gave us some tips on incorporating mindfulness into your mornings.

Chill Meditation 2 (4 images)

1. Don’t oversleep.
I try to get, at a minimum, six hours a night. But I don’t often feel like I need eight hours. My body doesn’t even want to stay dormant that long. I’ll get up often times before my alarm will go off.”

2. Don’t skip breakfast.
“For the most part, my breakfast is two cups of Bulletproof coffee and that’s it.” His recipe: two tablespoons of ghee (a clarified butter), two tablespoons XCT oil (a Bulletproof-branded distilled coconut oil) and high-quality coffee from one of his favorite cafes (right now it’s La Colombe). “It allows me to immediately have some sense of being satiated. I often wake up hungry, so to have that coffee and the fat hit right away — it quiets my stomach and allows me to quiet my mind a little bit easier.”

3. Consume tech selectively.
“I don’t always use it, but my favorite [meditation app] is called Insight Timer. It has variety where some of the other ones like Headspace and Calm have a single voice. The publishers of [Insight Timer’s] guided meditations come from different traditions and walks around the globe. So you get to experience a variety of types of meditation, which helps me stay engaged with my practice because it feels exciting and fresh.”

4. Use a quick-and-dirty approach to meditation.
“The easiest thing to focus on is the breath. Slowly take a deep breath in and exhale out and count backwards from 10 to 1 for each cycle. So you breathe in, you breathe out — that’s 10. Breathe in and breathe out — 9. To do that all the way down to 1 is, I think, the quick and dirty way of accessing a meditation practice. You can do that with your eyes open, you don’t have to necessarily close your eyes. A lot of people think they need to go into the lotus position with your legs crossed and your hands in a certain position. There are traditions and philosophies as to why people do that, but you don’t need to understand that and you don’t need to do that in order to reap the benefits of meditation.”

5. And always remember...
What is most important to me, and one of the things we champion here at Chill, is that it’s more important to have some sort of practice every day. As opposed to: I’m going to do 30 minutes on Wednesday and 30 minutes on Saturday. Not that that isn’t good, but even if you were to do 2-5 minutes seven days a week, there’s a cumulative effect that’s a little bit more powerful over time than having the sporadic once or twice a week practice. It’s a disciplined practice.”

Need more guidance? Jones would be happy to see you in one of his classes.

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