Interview with Ali Katz - How To Win a Man's Heart

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November 15, 2014

Interview with Ali Katz

1. In your experience, what are some of the most common objections or concerns people have about practicing meditation?

I would say that the number one objection people have is that they don’t have time, which probably means they need to meditate more! My response to this issue is always reframing. If someone told you that there would be a gift waiting for you every day if you got out of bed 15 minutes earlier, would you do it? I think most of us would say yes in one second flat. But that is just the thing…there is. By waking up 15 minutes earlier to meditate each day, you are giving yourself the best gift you can. You are starting your day from a peaceful, centered, and grounded place. You are connecting with your intuition, and you are infusing your body with a myriad of other health benefits as well. If you think of meditation not as a chore, but a gift you give yourself each day, it feels easier to make the time. I always tell my students that it isn’t any harder to get out of bed at 6:15 than 6:30, I promise, so just do it!

2. As humans, we are usually resistant to change even when we know the change will bring positive results. We seem to be more comfortable with the status quo even when it’s not working.

One of my subscribers pointed out how when she watches a motivational video or attends a personal development event, she is so pumped up to change her life for the better. But as soon as she gets back home and the daily grind of life takes over, all the motivation and determination to change just disappears.

How can we train our mind to not only try something such as meditation but also make it a habit?

That is a really good question. Just like anything in life such as eating healthy, exercising or mastering a new hobby, it is all about willingness. If you want to do something you will, pure and simple. Meditation is no different. The desire must come from within. Another important thing to remember about meditation is that it takes practice.

You may not feel totally comfortable the first few times you do it, but it is imperative to trust the process and stick with it if you want to reap the amazing benefits of meditation. The many benefits of meditation come with a consistent practice. There is no way around that. You won’t get up from your first second, or even tenth meditation a new person, but with time you will all of a sudden realize that maybe you have been sleeping better, haven’t been as stressed, or are more compassionate. The effect that meditation has on each individual is extremely personal, but I am confident that anyone who truly maintains a consistent practice will feel that they receive many benefits.

3. What’s the best time to meditate and typically how long should a session last?

The time of day and length of time that you meditate is very personal, and will vary from person to person. It is best to find a consistent time of day to meditate so that is built into your schedule as something you do every day. I personally meditate first thing in the morning, and I reccomend this to my students if it works for them. It is hard to get up on the morning, and it truly isn’t harder to get up 15 or 20 minutes earlier so that you have time to meditate. If you meditate in the morning you are starting your day from a peaceful, centered place. If you skip, and promise yourself that you will meditate later in the day, it is just another thing hanging over your head for you to stress about. Meditation should not be a stress in your life because that defeats its purpose! Maybe the “happy hour” mediation time after work is better for you. It doesn’t really matter when you do it, as long as you DO IT! Getting a second meditation in as a little booster later in the day is ideal, but not always an option. If not, be sure to do some quick and easy breathing throughout the day.

I always suggest that people start with a short, comfortable length of time to meditate and then slowly increase it as they feel ready. I started with 8 minutes and did that consistently everyday for 8 weeks, and then bumped my time up to 10 minutes. When I felt ready I went to 12, and kept moving up every few weeks until I hit 30 minutes. Now I meditate for 25-30 minutes every morning and I try to get a second shorter meditation in later in the day. I do breathing exercises at traffic lights, in carpool line, and any time I feel triggered throughout the day.

4. Interesting, you mentioned that you do breathing exercises at traffic lights, in carpool line and any time you feel stressed. Some of our subscribers haven’t dated for a long time and find the idea of going out on a date too intimidating and stressful. Sometimes even socializing with people can make them nervous and anxious. Can breathing exercises help them? Can these exercises be done quickly and easily at any place and time?

Totally!! Breathing exercises are a great way to calm and reset your nervous system anytime you feel triggered in a social situation or before a date especially. I call one of my favorites Sweet 16 Breathing because it is 4 sets of 4. It is simple and easy to remember. Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4. Repeat 4 times.

5. I guess when you initially practice meditating you may find the mind wandering distracting making it difficult to meditate. Does the mind need to be blank while meditating?

A major misconception of meditation is that your mind will completely empty and if it doesn’t you aren’t “good” at meditating. That is not true!! It is ok to have thoughts during meditation. It is going to happen. The average person has a thought about every two seconds, so to think that you can clear your head of every one is putting way too much pressure on yourself, and setting you up for failure. The goal is to find space between the thoughts, so eventually you take a few breaths without a thought before another pops into your head.

6. Do you need a mantra to meditate?

Meditation is very personal, and some people really do like meditating with a mantra, but it is not a necessity. Some people like to focus more on breath work. I recommend trying different styles and seeing what feels natural to you.

7. Can you meditate with your eyes open? If so, is this something you do and recommend to your clients?

Again, the position people like to meditate in is personal. You can meditate with your eyes capped, which means just slightly open. Some people stare at a candle flame to meditate. Whatever works for you is great. I always meditate with my eyes closed. I find it much easier to let go and stay focused with my eyes closed. I let my students know there are options, but I usually have people start meditating with their eyes closed.

8. Can you share some resources or websites that can help my readers learn more about meditation?

There are so many places to get great information about meditation. There are always great posts on the website Body Mind Green, and of course The Chopra Center has wonderful information. I love the website for the school where I received my training as well, The McLean Meditation Institute.

About Ali Katz

Ali Katz is a meditation teacher, mom of two precious boys and two adorable pups, a runner, a yogi, a t-shirt designer, author and public speaker. Her goals are to help adults and teens understand the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, and how to incorporate them into their daily lives. Her mission is to bring my passion for meditation to the masses, one student at a time, in a very relatable way.

To know more about Ali, visit her website