Should You Meditate In The AM Or PM? We Ask An Expert
I first met Manoj at an art gallery in Melbourne, where he was leading a hundred-large crowd in morning meditation. Breath work in the foyer of a contemporary Kaus exhibition? Just a casual Saturday.
The next time we linked up we ate ice cream and he gave me a free washing machine, like some god of laundry. But that's just the type of guy he is – kind. And a bit of an enigma.
On one hand, he's tattooed, pierced, and digs hip hop. But on the other he's a leading meditation teacher, lifelong Buddhism student and co-founder of Open, an LA-based mindfulness and movement space.
But you know what? Down with stereotypes, right? Manoj is here to challenge any preconceived notions of what a "meditation teacher" should be. He's purpose-driven, community-focussed and, hands down, a guy who practices what he preaches. Tattoos or no tattoos.
I caught up with him to quickly chat morning meditation, daily rituals and what makes a morning 'good' for him:
Talk us through your morning rituals.
"I usually try (my very best) to wake up by six am each morning. After brushing my teeth and doing a few ayurvedic practices, I’ll move my body with a 30 minute yoga practice. I follow that up with a 30-45 minute meditation practice.
"That done, I take a cold shower, drink a cup of tea and cycle to work. This has become a solid ritual since moving to LA, and I’m loving the consistency of the practice."
What makes a morning ‘good’ for you?
"A good night's sleep."
Favourite affirmation to start the day?
"Be kind today."
Is there any benefit to practicing meditation in the morning as opposed to at night?
"It’s just personal preference, really. I find most people seem to be at their most peaceful and alert state in the early hours of the day. But others prefer the evening and that's fine too, it can be an especially nice practice before sleep."
Do you have any advice for people wanting to cultivate a gratitude practice?
"Research shows that gratitude is most potent when it moves from a conceptual and cognitive activity to an embodied, somatic experience. I’d recommend choosing one thing everyday and cultivate this feeling (of gratitude) in your body by remembering what it feels like to engage with it. If it feels palpable, it's working."
Recommendations for morning meditation practices?
"A short breath work practice followed by simple mindful awareness practices can help us feel awake, alert and present—to ourselves and the world around us."