Does his name sound familiar? Well, over the past 45 years, he's taught everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey to Hugh Jackman and Gisele Bündchen how to take advantage of Transcendental Meditation. Unlike your regular Zen sesh, this type involves sitting for 20 minutes a day, twice every day, as you repeat a personal mantra. And there's scientific evidence to support your effort output: Studies have shown it can even reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety.
"This meditation is so simple; there’s no philosophy, there’s no woo-woo—it’s just a technique. It’s like learning sit-ups or push-ups. It’s so immediate, and the results are so physiologically marked. I’m 67 years old and I haven’t been sick in decades." —Bob Roth, author and meditation teacher
Typically, it's pricey to learn: Unlike meditating with your favorite app, TM requires you to dedicate an hour a day for four consecutive days to learn from a trained teacher. During that time, the teacher ensures you can perform the technique and gives you your personal mantra. The course fee can be paid in four $240 installments or as a onetime $960 payment, but some might be eligible for income-based assistance. Also, certain locations have income-based fees supported by special funding, like in NYC, where those with an annual household income between $50,000 and $99,000 (one of five income levels) pay a total of $740.
"This meditation is so simple; there’s no philosophy, there’s no woo-woo—it’s just a technique. It’s like learning sit-ups or push-ups. It’s so immediate, and the results are so physiologically marked," Roth told me. "I’m 67 years old, and I haven’t been sick in decades, and it’s just because the human nervous system has a mechanism to take profound rest at will and heal itself better than many medications and drugs can, particularly alcohol and those things. I think within a few years, this is going to be widespread."
Once you learn the technique, Roth—who just released the book Strength in Stillness to give the curious some more intel—says you can practice anywhere, whether in your home or on a bus or an airplane. And given how stressed and tired and anxious so many of us are, Roth says now is the time to do something holistic about it.
"The trajectory we’re on isn’t getting any better. The sleeplessness, the anxiety—we find ourselves overreacting to things we didn’t overact to before, or we’re not feeling the energy levels," Roth said. "Well, it’s not going to get better within five to 10 years, so this is the time to do an intervention for yourself."
After all, even the most mindful kombucha-drinking wellness rockstar among us could use a Zen intervention now and again.
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