Meditation 101

Jennifer Aniston’s Best Days Always Include This Mind-Body Wellness Duo

Photo: Courtesy of Vital Proteins; W+G Creative
Jennifer Aniston has long been a fan of practicing various fitness modalities—it's what she calls “keeping her body confused” or mixing it up to work muscles in different ways. In the past, that mostly looked like a few high-intensity practices, from boxing and spinning to 20-minute sessions on the elliptical that would leave her “drenched.” But since the pandemic hit, she’s been inspired to broaden her approach to staying fit, adopting a wellness routine that’s equally restorative for her mind and her body: a wake-up meditation followed by a late-morning Pilates class.

Largely, Aniston cites the pandemic itself as the reason for her renewed focus on both mind and body. “It really reinforced the importance of wellness from all angles for me,” says Aniston, whom I spoke with in relation to the launch of new protein and collagen bars from Vital Proteins, where she’s the Chief Creative Officer. “The experience [of the pandemic] reminded me that mindfulness is as important as physical and nutritional wellness. And that extends to being mindfully aware of how you’re moving and what you’re eating, too.”

That became all the more relevant for Aniston recently, when she was away from home for three months, shooting a movie. She tells me that the mental pile-on of testing for COVID-19 every day on set and constantly worrying about people getting sick around her, coupled with news about the war in Ukraine, all while she was trying to make a lighthearted comedy left her reeling. “I had to actively refocus myself, and daily meditation became really important for doing that,” she says.

Now that she’s back home and has been able to re-establish a morning routine, she begins each day with meditation as a way to prepare her mind for what’s to come. “First thing when I wake up, I light my candles and set my intention for the day, and then spend a few minutes meditating,” she says. Then, she has her coffee—typically infused with Vital Proteins collagen peptides—and later in the morning, she fits in a Pilates class to get her body moving.

“Pilates, to me, is really like a moving meditation.”—Jennifer Aniston

Though Aniston initially took to Pilates as a daily practice in the quarantine stage of the pandemic (after an injury left her unable to do many of her higher-intensity go-to workouts), she now credits it as her “current favorite” physical exercise, mostly because of its methodical strengthening and toning vibe. “It’s just not so hard on your body, and I love how it makes me feel afterward,” she says. “I feel taller, I feel leaner, and it just rehabilitates all the little broken parts.”

But perhaps her favorite part about Pilates is how it combines physicality with, yes, mindfulness—which she tells me she’s always looking to tap into these days to ease stress triggered by the 24-hour news cycle. “Pilates, to me, is really like a moving meditation,” she says. And given that her session typically follows her aforementioned meditation practice earlier in the morning, that mind-body benefit is all the more potent.

Looking to get your Pilates on at home? Here's a 15-minute mat workout to get you started:

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