The pro: Kelly Morris, meditation teacher and spiritual guide to the most zen-spiring fashion insiders Our tester: Maura Lynch, senior beauty editor and self-proclaimed ball of stress
“'If you're not meditating, you're a mess,' Morris told me when we first met. I wasn't sure what constituted a mess, but I was definitely flirting with the line—exhausted, frequently sick, riddled with anxiety, and at that moment, reliant on cheap wine and Vanderpump Rules for therapy. I ventured to Morris's Brooklyn apartment to see if she could teach me to meditate, as she has done for Diane von Furstenberg, Michelle Williams, and the six blissed-out women I met at my first group session.
"Morris, whose 25 years of in-depth research into both Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism inform her work as an ‘awakening coach' [a type of healer], believes that ‘meditation is the most essential form of self-care.' And science backs her up: Research shows that it can help lower blood pressure, reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, strengthen the immune system, and improve memory.
"We began in corpse pose—in other words, lying flat on our backs—with our eyes closed. Morris described a beautiful forest, because ‘a relationship with the earth mirrors our relationship with ourselves.' After 10 minutes we moved from the warm-up to the main event. I got a spot on the couch, a perk of being a newbie. ‘If you're sitting on a couch or in a chair, your feet should be flat on the floor with your hands flat on your thighs,' she explained. ‘If you're sitting on the floor, make sure the crease in your hips is higher than your knees, a position you can achieve with the help of a cushion. If it isn't, you'll hunch forward, sit for 40 seconds, and then want to rip your hair out.'
"She reminded us that our backs should be completely straight, at a 90-degree angle with the floor, to best conduct energy. We returned to the imaginary woods, and Morris drew our attention to each of our senses. As random thoughts invaded, she warned us in her soothing tone to let them pass—good-bye, taco craving. The meditation lasted 30 minutes, but I lost all sense of time. The only thing I could focus on was the overwhelming feeling of tranquility.
"When I spoke, words came out slowly and less frantically. That night, I had my best sleep in years. I attempted to replicate this peace at home, even though my 200-square-foot studio apartment isn't nearly as calming as Morris's airy brownstone, which looks like it belongs on a #lifegoals Pinterest board, all fluffy pillows and Moroccan rugs. For the next several weeks, I woke up each morning, scrambled to the edge of my bed, and listened to Morris's 7 a.m. Periscope meditation [$25/month; findyourinfinity.com to register].”
The results: “Morris told me it takes a month of meditating to truly get the hang of it, and she was right. My resting bitch face is slowly settling into a gentle half-smile.”
How to Enhance Your Zen
The key to getting the most out of your meditation? Setting a mood that appeals to all senses. Here, our must list.
1. Light natural-scented candles: Lavender, rose, and lemongrass varieties will help transport you outdoors.
2. Display fresh flowers: Orange, green, and purple hues give off positive energy.
3. Get cozy: Plop down on oversize cushions if you're practicing on the floor, and keep a shawl nearby to drape over your shoulders—the last thing you want to catch while getting your om on is a chill.