World-renowned teacher and author of “Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation,” davidji travels the world helping others with stress management and personal life coaching. He was the dean at the Chopra Center University for a decade.
How can meditation help us during stressful times?
Meditation is simply the progressive quieting of the fluctuations of our mind. When we can slow the swirl of 60,000-80,000 thoughts that flow into us each day, we [are able to] slow down our breathing, our pulse, our blood pressure and lower our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. ... We become more reflective and less reflexive; more purposeful and less knee-jerk, which leads to greater clarity, creativity and intuition. The stress just starts to fall away.
Are there rules for how and when to meditate?
That’s why so many people stop meditating — fear of sticking to the rules. There are no rules — you can meditate anywhere, under any circumstances.
Is the subway a good place to meditate?
I’ve meditated in the middle of Times Square, at a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden, at Ground Zero and at the top of the Empire State Building. Meditating on the train is a brilliant idea. Everyone is either staring into space, reading the paper or listening to music. This is the perfect time to take your own personal “time in.” Gently close your eyes (don’t worry, everyone will think you’re sleeping) and begin to follow your breath in and out for a few minutes and just witness it. Just watch as you inhale and watch as you exhale. Do that for five minutes. That gentle disconnect in the nonstop swirl of activity is perfect as you rock back and forth and the train clangs away on the tracks. Don’t worry if you have thoughts (you’re dead if you don’t have thoughts). Don’t worry about the noise (your thoughts are even louder than the train pulling into Penn Station) — just drift back to your breath and witness it. You can also meditate while waiting on line, at the doctor’s office, in the movie theater, even in the back of a taxi.
What do you tell people who want to start meditating?
Try my patented technique ... called 16 seconds to bliss. Observe your breath as you slowly inhale through your nostrils to the count of four. Then hold that breath in your belly to the count of four. Then gently release the breath and follow it ... to the count of four. Then hold the breath out to the count of four. Now return to regular breathing. In those 16 seconds you were neither in the past nor the future. You were right here in this present moment.
davidji’s 5 tips for managing stress
1 Chew gum. It loosens your jaw where you are holding on to tension.
2 Spend some time in nature — even cloud gazing in Times Square.
3 Breathe in to the count of five, breath out to six, and do that 10 times.
4 Peel an orange and slowly eat it. Its aroma will soothe you.
5 Pet your dog, cat or bird, cradle your child or caress your lover. It releases oxytocin, our body’s feel-good chemical.