The #1 secret to the beginning yogi (a lesson to all parents)

A Lesson To All Parents…

By Michelle Ghilotti

Psst, forget about meditation.

Use reflection instead. (Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, please don’t cringe. I’m on a mindfulness get-more-people-on-the-mindfulness-track binge).






So they say the best businesses are those that fill a need in the market, right?

Consider this your business!

Consider this the need: No-one has time for meditation or at least not the kind that most parents or newbies have in their minds ~ a strict and scary kind that begs for 30 minutes. I’ve noticed the look on parents’ faces when I talk to them about meditation (or even when I, as a parent, plan to meditate when I’ve been working long hours and just want to sleep the extra half hour)…if we can’t find time to shower, how CAN we find the time to meditate? And what good will it do to sit when all we can think about is the sleep we didn’t get the night before…isn’t the point NOT to think? And what IS meditation anyway?

In order to grow into meditation (and get extremely similar benefits) what if you reflected earnestly and consistently throughout your day? If you aren’t doing this already, consider this meditation’s baby sister…you are now closer to meditation than you’ve ever been. I state the following in my book, how to be a walking Momtra™, “Reflection is baby steps, powerful baby steps, to achieving peace and to changing your life for the happier!”

• Stop three times every day. Only for a minute. (If you want, use that fancy iPhone 4 to set a timer. That way, you’ll be less tempted to cheat the time, open the eyes or be overwhelmed in any way. You know you’ll get the ding to “tap you out” but you get the benefit of actually achieving the trés dificile task of STOPPING in the land of the doing).

• 9am, at work or right after dropping kids off or having put baby in front of Baby Einstein: Whether you’re in front of the computer or in your car, close the eyes. Great. Now, breathe. Visualize breathing in more of what you want and breathing out what no longer serves you. Now, with the 50 seconds still left, reflect on the last couple hours. What was loving, peaceful about it? There is always something.  What could you change about what went sideways or hectic? There is always something.

• 12noon, right before or after a meal:

Chair reflection: Sit, whether it’s in front of your meal or while something is cooking. Set your egg timer this time and close the eyes. Breathe in. Breathe out. How could you make the rest of this day filled with potential? Is it taking the baby out in the jogger even though your mind is telling you you’re tired (your body wants it, believe me). Or, maybe it’s apologizing to the person you snapped at, at work? Or, better yet, maybe it’s turning off the TV after your reflection and playing cars with your two year old, even though your mind says it doesn’t like it (your soul and your babes’ soul loves it, trust me).

• 9pm, right before bed: This might be the easiest reflection time yet. After getting ready for bed, lay down. You were going to do that anyway J. With the light still on, lay with your arms folded at your chest with eyes closed. Reflect on how stopping two other times today felt. Then tell yourself everything is a PRACTICE in the human experience. How could I be kinder to myself tomorrow? Could I sit for two minutes vs one minute to reflect tomorrow? What issue or problem do I need clarity on by morning? Picture yourself with the solution upon waking. Then throw “the problem” into a virtual bonfire and sleep tight.

How to be a walking Momtra™: Reflect to stretch your happiness, every day.

Your Momtra for the next 10 days: Reflection is not just for mirrors or diamonds, it’s for a more brilliant human experience, 3x.

You never know how this will grow into not just attempting but being excited by a full ten-minute, closed-eye meditation where you’re actually trying to clear your mind of any thoughts. When you’re ready, we, at the Happiness Series and Parenting Series, will be ready to show you how.

In the meantime, do the minute and before you go, please comment on what you liked about it.

Namaste and if you liked this article, please visit Walking Momtra on twitterfacebook and/or visit the blog,

To our parental health!



Filed Under: Blogs


About the Author: Michelle Ghilotti Mandel is a writer, certified yoga teacher and graphic designer running her own heartful design and branding studio, ghilotti ink, for over 10 years. Michelle is writing the how to be a walking Momtra book (blog: and is a guest blogger for Happiness Series, the Elephant Journal, and the When she’s not grooving with any of the above, she is running (usually to yoga), sleeping on the Great Wall of China, becoming an expert in expat living and, surprisingly, not making many other plans. She keeps a 5 x 4 foot canvas entitled “The Things that Make Me Happy,” which she is happy to announce will never be finished. She lives in Los Angeles with her five year old son and husband. Michelle’s blogging for Happiness Series about Happiness, Motherhood, finding a balance in life, and having fun!

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