All posts by Mallika Chopra

About Mallika Chopra

Mallika Chopra is a mom, media entrepreneur, and published author. She is the founder of Intent.com, a website focused on personal, social and global wellness. Her intent is to harness the power of social media to connect people from around the world to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet. Her books, "100 Promises To My Baby" and "100 Questions From My Child" have been translated and sold in dozens of countries worldwide. Her varied background includes launching the Heal The World Foundation in the 1990’s with Michael Jackson, being part of the initial team to re-launch MTV in India, and serving as a Health Ambassador for the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project in the US – an initiative that gave millions of dollars to individuals, non-profits and companies to for projects in their communities. Mallika is also the founder of The Chopra Well, a premiere YouTube channel, she launched with her brother, Gotham Chopra, and father, Deepak Chopra. Mallika enjoys speaking to audiences around the world, and has shared her passion about Intent at TedXBerkeley, Ideacity, Business Innovation Factory, the Green Festivals, LOHAS, The California Women’s Conference, The Prevention R3 Conference, and many more. Mallika has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, and MBA from Kellogg Business School. Mallika’s new book, "Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy" will be released in April 2015.

Exercise for Joy, Energy, and Happiness

woman-and-scale-shutterstock1Every year I set the same resolutions – lose 15 pounds, cut out refined sugar, meditate daily, exercise 5 times a week – resolutions that seem like nostalgic wishes by mid February. This year I set the intent I am living with the intent to feel energetic, creative, joyful, centered and inspired

And, while I am making a commitment to work out more often and eat more mindfully, I am committing to physical activities that make me feel connected spiritually and full emotionally rather than torturing myself just to shed pounds.

I am discovering a love of yoga (believe it or not, I am not a yogi – read about it here!) through a group class I am doing with other mom friends.  Historically, yoga has been a struggle for me as I have felt like I am “bad” at it.  But this year I am approaching it differently – inspired, as I often am, by the guiding philosophy of my good friend Tara Stiles.

Tara and I recently hosted a SCLA event in San Francisco and as I watched Tara twist and turn in amazing ways to hip hop music during our event, I noticed the intention to find joy, creativity, and challenge by those in her class. Tara’s approach to yoga made it fun, rich and fulfilling for all those in the class, even if they couldn’t keep up with her!

In an interview I did with Tara last year, she talked about the joy she discovered in yoga:  “(As a dancer), everything has to be perfect or you’re not completing the movement. That’s what was so exciting about yoga. You’re going to your own limit and finding the ease in that moment.  From a mental, spiritual and emotional aspect it was definitely key. I was like, ‘I have to do this forever!’”

What I am enjoying about my own weekly yoga class is that I can do it at my own pace.  And its social!  I have as much fun chatting with the other mom friends as I do stretching and breathing. We’ve always been big supporters of yoga here on Intent and encourage all of you to give it a try if you’re looking for a practice that not only works you out but also helps you connect to your body through your mind and spirit.

I’ve also been on a few hikes on the lovely trails here in Santa Monica where I live, not checking my phone for emails, and walking in silence noticing the beauty of nature. 

And, this weekend I plan to start running on the beach again – one of the most emotionally healing things I have done in the past. For my 40th birthday, I ran a half marathon and found a love for running because of how it made me feel emotionally. Working out with an activity that makes you feel happy and better about yourself is much healthier than doing something you hate because it’ll trim fat.

Hopefully my strategy of living with intent this year will help me realize some of the changes I am seeking in my life more effortlessly and with lasting impact.  And more importantly, because I am having fun, feeling connected and inspired, I am anticipating my physical time, rather than feeling burdened by it. This will keep me motivated to stay on the path to healthier living!

Like Mallika’s blog? Support these similar intents on Intent.com!

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From Mallika Chopra: What Makes a Good Intent?

meditationThis afternoon as my husband, two daughters and I wandered the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, we reflected on 2013 and shared our hopes and dreams for 2014.  (We are in Hanoi on an incredible family vacation to meet family who is living here.)

2014 is a big year for my family.  Leela, my youngest daughter, will be turning 10 years old.  Tara will be entering middle school, an experience that will broaden her world and intellect.  My husband has some big milestones that are years in the making, which will manifest in 2014.  And I will be writing my book, Living with Intent!

However, we decided not to focus on what we wanted to do (our goals), but to reflect on how we wanted to feel, what we wanted to create and achieve, and how we wanted to serve (our intents).

There are several steps I use when thinking about how to set intents.  (I will be writing about these extensively in my book, of course!)

Our intents come from a place deep inside of us – they are the kernels of who we aspire to be, what we want to feel connected, and how we feel purposeful in our lives.  To set intents, we need to know ourselves.

So the first step for setting my own intents is meditation, reflection, and silence.  For now, I am calling this step Incubation.  (Please let me know if you have a better word that starts with I – I am trying to create a step-by-step guide based on the letters I-N-T-E-N-T.  I’m not thrilled with incubation although the word expresses my idea.)

Incubation is tapping into the silence between our thoughts and getting in touch with our soul.  It is about transcending our minds chatter, and feeling at peace with our selves – letting go of our insecurities, anticipations, fears. And in this process, we begin to naturally sense the seeds of desire that bubble up from that place of silence and peace.  We know what will make us feel happy, connected, and purposeful.  Sometimes, we may not be ready to express it in words so it is important to give ourselves the time to incubate these deep desires.

With time, we are able to articulate our intents to ourselves and those around us.  I am a believer in creating networks of support to share ones intents.  The support and accountability one gets from others make the journey of realizing our intents meaningful and fun.  And thus why I hope you will all share your intents and your journey with us  for 2014!

Here are some of my intents for 2014:

  • My intent is to connect deeply with those I love – being a source of support, laughter, and inspiration to their every day life.
  • My intent is to feel energetic and vibrant physically and emotionally every day – and in turn, set some goals for diet, exercise, and regular meditation.
  • My intent is to write my book with joy and inspiration, staying true to my desire to share the power of intention to transform ones life.
  • My intent is to grow Intent.com, nurturing a community I feel honored to be a part of.

I look forward to reading all of your intents, and more importantly to read your updates and comments supporting each other as the weeks and months continue. 

Happy New Year!!  2014 promises to be fantastic!!

photo by: tokyosucks

Set Intents Not Resolutions For 2014

Elevator2Every December, like millions of others, I set new years resolutions.

Lose 15 pounds.  Keep in touch with friends.  Exercise 5 times a week.  Start yoga. Write a book.

Jan 2nd or 3rd I usually make it to a yoga class, cramming the studio with the other newbies who have made a similar commitments.  I visit the gym, having to wait for the elliptical machine, in our normally not so crowded gym.  I shop at the local farmers market, inspired by the freshness of the fruits and vegetables and think how could I shop anywhere else?  I call a friend, feeling so happy to reconnect.  I commit to writing and am excited by the possibilities!

But, by week 3, perhaps by early February, my gym visits are down to 2, my excuses for missing the yoga class seem totally justified, and I realize the book project may just have to wait a few more months.  Alas, new years resolutions end up making me feel a bit more guilty about all the things I didn’t do, but wanted to, by mid February.

This is why I believe people should make intents, not resolutions.  I do believe there is a difference between intents and goals/resolutions.

Intents come from our soul – they are who and what we aspire for in our life.  Intentions reflect ones purpose, what gives us meaning or significance.  Intentions come from a place of mindfulness, of knowing what will give us happiness and peace.

So, an intent may be to lead a healthier, more energetic life.  To do that, we may set goals to exercise or eat better.  The intent may be to feel more connected, and one way to do that may be to reconnect with friends.  While it may be a technicality, I think when we thing about our intents, instead of just the goals, we will be more conscious and committed to taking action.

And to achieve our intentions, we need to set up an ecosystem to achieve them – giving ourselves time to be thoughtful and know what we want, creating networks of support from others, recognizing that we need to forgive ourselves for faltering, and taking deliberate action.  When we set an intent, we naturally pay attention to the situations, people and circumstances that help realize them.  In my own life, I have seen that sometimes the way I realize my intent manifests in a way that I never could have imagined.

So, for 2014 (and beyond), I’d like to invite you to set your intents now!  Spend the next week thinking about what you want in your life – what will make you feel emotionally, physically, spiritually connected next year.  Share your intents on www.intent.com and lets support one another.

I’d also like to shout out to Sports Club/LA who has been supporting this idea of intent!  As a sports club, I love the fact that they are sending this message of deeper fulfillment to their members.  Check out the photos featuring Intention on their elevator doors and they have inspiring quotes on intention inside.  Truly an honor to work with a group that is leading the way!

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A Moment With Nelson Mandela, Rest in Peace

Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 8.04.33 AMIn 1999, I had the honor to meet Nelson Mandela.  He was attending a state banquet (in South Africa) and a friend scuttled me in for a quick meet and greet.  I was completely in awe, of course, and don’t think I said anything other than put my hands together in respect when we met.

When I heard the news of his passing yesterday, I relived that moment once again.  And while meeting someone as historical and mythical as he was is undoubtedly a moment in my life I will never forget, so was a poignant  visit to Robben Island, the remote prison that held Nelson Mandela for twenty-six years.

I was in South Africa with my classmates from Kellogg Business School – our intent was to learn more about the country, its people, traditions, and, of course, current and future business opportunities.  We were fortunate to be taken to Robben Island by Ahmed Kathrada, a freedom fighter who was sentenced for treason on the same day as President Mandela.  Mr. Kathrada, who at that time of our visit was a gentleman in his late seventies, was 36 years old when he went to prison, the youngest member convicted in the famous Rivonia trial, and the only person of South Asian descent from the group.

Our tour of the prison was somewhat surreal as Kathrada told us firsthand stories about almost three decades in prison, and the shaping of a revolution.  We had all read A Long Walk To Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s prison memoir, which to this day is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.  It was truly remarkable to stroll the grounds of the prison as Mr. Kathrada showed us how they would use scraps of rice paper to write notes for the book in tiny handwriting, and bury the paper in marked holes in rocks, before sneaking them out with release prisoners.  He showed us the cells they shared, and laughed at the habits each of them came to know of their fellow prisoners.

On that sunny day, it was difficult for me to feel the scope of the sacrifice these men made at Robben Island, until Mr. Kathrada talked emotionally about how they missed being around children while in prison.  Can you imagine a world without the cries or playful laughter of children?  He described the wonderful sensation of holding a child after 23 years of being deprived of seeing or hearing them.

The most dramatic moments in our time together came as Mr. Kathrada spoke with conviction and passion about the cause for which he had fought. I got chills down my spine as he talked about the camaraderie between strangers who had united for a cause for which they were willing to sacrifice their entire lives or even to die.  Mr. Kathrada described the evening when his guards announced that they had been released.

“They came and said, “We have received a fax that you are to be released tomorrow.”  Our first question was, “What is a fax? We had only seen a television for the first time in 1986.”

What followed their release was historic and bold and hard.  In one of the quotes being shared today, Mandela says:

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

Some of the most powerful words and scenes in the book, A Long Walk To Freedom, were the ones where Mandela talks about forgiveness.  The NY Times has a beautiful piece written by John Dramani Mahama, the President of Ghana, about how Mandela’s legacy of forgiveness shaped Africa.

As I read quotes and recaps of Nelson Mandela, I decided to see if Ahmed Kathrada had written something today and was moved to find his emotional words posted on  a South African portal.  Mr. Kathrada writes:

Your smile, which lingers still, was always from the heart, never forced, and the great joy you took in the world around you, especially in children, was unmistakeable…

I had the enviable privilege of being alive and walking the earth with you through the bad times and the good. It has been a long walk, with many challenges that at times seemed insurmountable. And yet we never faltered, and the strength of leaders like you and Walter always shone a light on the path and kept our destination and our people’s future in view.

I feel bereft and lonely. To whom do I turn for solace, comfort, and advice?

Farewell my elder brother, my mentor, my leader.

You can read the full text here.

Yesterday the world lost a hero and a true leader. While we mourn the loss of such a great man, we will strive to keep his memory and spirit alive in all the days to come. Thank you Nelson Mandela, may you rest in peace.

(Photos: NelsonMandela.org)

UNICEF’s I Believe in Zero to Save Children from Preventable Disease

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 8.50.25 AMMy Conversation with Caryl Stern, President US Fund for UNICEF When I was in college, I wrote my senior thesis on the Convention of the Rights of the Child.  I no longer know where that document is or even remember the details of that in-depth study that consumed my last year of college.  What has stayed with me forever, however, is the belief that children have the right to live, to be protected from abuse and exploitation, and deserve basic human rights.  I was also always inspired by the work of UNICEF, and for my first book, 100 Promises To My Baby, I donated 10% of my proceeds to their programs for children affected by HIV and AIDS. Thus, when I had the opportunity to hear Caryl Stern speak about her new book, I Believe In Zero, I was already convinced of her intent that no child should die from preventable causes.

Currently 18,000 children die every day of preventable causes – from things like unsafe drinking water, malnutrition, and lack of access to immunizations.  This is truly unacceptable, and we, as a global citizens, should not think it is ok. I have met many people doing incredible work for others, but Caryl Stern truly impacted me in a way few others have.  In fact, I was so moved by her book that I decided to buy several dozen books to gift to my daughter’s classmates.

In the book, Caryl shares through her own personal stories the plight of children around the world, as well as potential solutions to many of these problems.  The book is hopeful, inspirational, and yet very real, at the same time. I reached out to UNICEF to see if I could interview Caryl for my book, Living With Intent, as she is someone who embodies passion and purpose in a unique way.  I was honored to have a one-on-one conversation with her about 10 days ago in NYC to talk about her book, her family, her work and her intentions.

The US Fund for UNICEF is in a non-descript office building near Wall Street in NYC.  I was escorted up to a waiting room where, while waiting to be called into her office, I watched a staff meeting in a conference room enclosed by glass walls.  The staff at UNICEF seemed multi-cultural, relatively young, and animated from the peek I had into their meetings.  After a short wait, I headed to Caryl’s office and was welcomed by her friendly staff. In the first few minutes of meeting Caryl, I knew this woman is a both a force of energy and passion, but also incredibly warm and welcoming.   Her desk was full of papers and books, not messy or particularly neat, with photos on the shelves, including those of her two sons.  A packed suitcase stood on the floor by her desk, an obvious reminder that she is a woman who lives on the road (something she talks a lot about in the book – balancing her need to travel with being a mom.)

In listening to my recorded interview with her, I realize I was really nervous, chatting for about 10 minutes about my intent before even letting to her speak!  Once she spoke, I was put at ease by her friendliness, and became totally relaxed. Caryl begins her narrative sharing two powerful personal family stories.  In 1939, her mother and uncle boarded a ship as children to escape from Austria during the Nazi invasion.  An unknown woman, whose name they will never know, made sure they boarded that ship safely to escape the horror that could have killed them.   Through her mother’s story, Caryl knows the power that even one person has to save another’s life. That same year, her grandfather boarded the SS St. Louis on a journey that became known as the Voyage of the Damned because Cuban and US authorities denied entrance to the passengers (mostly Jews) saying that they had fraudulent paperwork.

The ship was sent back to Europe, and most on board perished from Nazi persecution.  Her grandfather, one of the few survivors of that journey, taught her “what happens when the world turns its back, ignores the facts, and allows innocent people to die.” In I Believe In Zero, Caryl shares her travels to witness the plight of children around the world, and the work that UNICEF is doing to alleviate their suffering.  From the rainforests of Brazil to Mozambique, Darfur, Bangladesh, and post earthquake Haiti (just to name a few), she shares intimate moments, putting names and faces to the mothers and children whose lives seem so unjustly marred by war, famine, ecological devastation and disease.  But the power of her stories are in the details and emotions she has witnessed – from holding the hand of a woman whose child is dying of tetanus (a preventable disease) in Sierra Leone to sharing an apple with a woman in the desert during the food shortage in Kenya, just 48 hours after Caryl excitedly (and nervously) meets Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Its Caryl’s ability to make everything personal that I realize makes her so authentic and relatable.  During the talk I attended, a young boy asked her, “What is the most difficult part of your job?”  I expected her to answer with a story about witnessing famine, the death of an infant, or meeting children of war, but instead she replied that it was being separated from her two sons.  In the book, she shares the story of being at a refugee camp in Darfur, and getting a phone call from her son in NYC who needs help with his English homework.  Any mom can relate to this feeling.  As a mom, Caryl is constantly figuring out the balance of serving both her children and the world! During the interview, when I applaud Caryl’s belief the no child should die of preventable causes, she responds that her hope is that others will adopt this intent to make it a rallying cry of their own – that it is the ones who stand on her shoulders who will convince others that no child should die of preventable causes and do something about it.  As she speaks, I am reminded once again of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and how the mandates in that charter need constant re-affirmation, communication, and action.

I am inspired that there are people like Caryl Stern who are leading a global community of individuals who truly believe that we can help one another. I strongly recommend Caryl’s book, I Believe In Zero.  It is entertaining, hopeful, and a first step to educating oneself about issues affecting our children.  Caryl has generously donated profits of the book US Fund for UNICEF.  I also encourage you to check out www.unicef-usa.org to learn about the programs and important work that UNICEF is doing daily to help children around the world.

A Chopra in Yoga Class and the Intent to Connect

We are midway through week two of our 21 Day Yoga Challenge with Tara Stiles and Sports Club LA and I want to thank all of you that have participated.

There have been a lot of inspiring intents about creating a yoga practice, getting back into it or simply wanting to create a deeper connection. Here are a few of my favorites that I wanted to share with everyone.

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The best thing about starting Intent has been to foster a community that supports each other and pushes themselves to do better things. That’s the real purpose of these challenges – to bring everyone together and encourage each other. Click any of the intents above to support them or adopt them as your own. If you want to join us you can create your own and put it in the yoga category on Intent.com.

And you’re not alone! I’ve been using the challenge to push myself in yoga as well As a Chopra there is this expectation for me to be really good at yoga, but the truth is I’m not. I’m not at all.

One Christmas, Gotham gave me a gift certificate for yoga classes. The certificate was valid for 6 months, and I had not redeemed it. When the guy looked at the certificate, luckily, there was no date on it — so, I lied. I told him, with a sweet smile, that I received it for my birthday in July. Not a moment of Chopra guilt.

As he was putting my info in the system, he furrowed his brows and I knew the question was coming. “Any relation to Deepak?” I nodded. “Yes, he’s my father.” He replied, “Cool. We have his books here.” I looked up, and my fathers face was smiling at me from above the counter.

“Deepak Chopra is your father!!” A woman waiting in line next to me, squealed with delight. “Oh, my God! I love him. Can I touch you? I have never met anyone famous before.” The rest of the people in line peered at me. I smiled awkwardly. “I’m not famous,” I said. “People know my father…”

The woman was right in my face now. “My name is Sarah. I loved his book – 7 Practical Laws of Love.”
Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” I replied.

Sarah put her mat next to mine. She started telling me about how the Law of Least Resistance had changed her life. The yoga instructor walked in, “I just heard you are Deepak’s daughter,” she announced to the room. “Now, I feel all this pressure!” The other people turned, looking at each other, nodding knowingly. And, then it all went totally downhill. I completely unraveled. It was the moment of truth and the whole room witnessed it.

I kept slipping during Downward Dog Pose. I couldn’t balance during Tree Pose. Forget about even attempting, Sirsasana, the Headstand Pose. Every time I turned to the left, Sarah was ogling me, but also a bit confounded about what I was doing. I felt totally inadequate. I just could not perform. People pretended not to see my awkwardness. Sarah actually stopped looking over. The teacher seemed to have slowed down a bit, embarrassed. Finally, it was Mrtsana, the Corpse Pose, and, thank god, it was over!

I rushed out. I did not glance at Sarah — well, to be honest, she was not even looking at me any more. I did not want to face the teacher. I felt like everyone in the room had discovered my most intimate secret. But as I ran out, the man at the register stopped me. “Hey, Ms. Chopra, could you do us a favor and sign these books?” There was a pile of my dads books on the counter. People started drifting out of the room.

I panicked for a moment. Sarah was looking over my shoulder now. “Oh, wow. I didn’t know Deepak had written a book on yoga.” She actually sounded perplexed. I took a deep breath. I dropped my head in shame. I took another breath. And, then, something miraculous happened. With that breath, somehow, I had re-connected. Another breath. Connection. I was a Chopra. Another breath. Admit it, I suck at yoga. Another breath. That is ok.

I smiled at the man at the register. “Sorry, I really can’t sign those books. They are my father’s, not mine.” Another breath. I started to walk out.

Remember who you are.

“But, you know what,” I turned back in. “I could sign my book, if you carried it…”

Sarah looked up, and the look was coming back into her eyes. The look of hope, the look that there was still something to believe in.
I stood tall, put my hands together in Namaste, and smiled that Chopra smile at her with all of its glory!

Setting goals and intents aren’t about being perfect – it’s about trying. So I hope you try with us!

Mallika Chopra: My Yoga Challenge

intent meditationI struggle with yoga.  I feel guilty admitting this given I am a Chopra, a meditator, from India, live in Santa Monica, have dear friends who are yoga teachers, and have a website on intention.  People assume I am a yogi, and I’ve even been recruited to be a spokesperson for yoga by companies even though I struggle with Downward Dog!  I’ve also written about the comedy of being a Chopra in a yoga class (but more on that next week)!

But, in the last few months, I have committed to my intent to lead a healthier, more balanced life – to meditate daily, eat better, exercise more, and practice yoga.  I was invited to join a group of friends for a Monday morning yoga class, and while I was very doubtful I would enjoy it, I committed to it thinking that by being accountable to my friends to “show up” would force me to actually show up.

I have done 3 classes so far, and I have to admit that I am secretly starting to enjoy them.  I’m realizing it takes a few classes to get the flow of the poses, and the self-assuredness that yoga is a personal practice where you can improve with every practice.  Our small class is relaxed and fun, and the social interaction is as motivating as how I feel physically and emotionally after class.

So, it is timely that I am joining my friend, Tara Stiles, and Intent’s partner, Sports Club LA, to launch the 21 Days of Yoga Challenge on Intent.com!

Each week we will be posting a new yoga challenge on Intent.com.

Please support people’s yoga intents, adopt one of the yoga intents or set your own (and put them in the yoga category).

This week, I’m adopting Tara’s yoga intent to challenge myself with sun salutations every day – something manageable for me as I will probably start with one a day!  I will re-affirm and update it daily, as well.  I hope you will join us for this challenge!

Also, I wanted to share this video of Tara and I chatting about yoga and intention, as well as her post about how she incorporates intention into her daily life.

Mallika Chopra: Train Your Mind Like An Olympic Athlete

 

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By Mallika Chopra

Wellness is a popular trend these days. From bootcamps, to botox, to gluten-free diets — there is no shortage of methods and techniques promising to change your body and fix your life. But we, as a society, often forget that wellness is not just about physical prowess. How far you can run, how fast you can swim, how heavy a weight you can lift – these kinds of measures sometimes suggest that wellness always comes with a six-pack and perfectly sculpted calves.

No doubt, physical fitness is  important – especially the strength, balance, and confidence that becomes so important for quality and longevity of life. But let’s not forget the emotional and mental aspects of wellness.

Olympic athletes like cross-country skier Chandra Crawford, alpine skier Emily Brydon and freestyle skier Shannon Deanne Bahrke have spoken about how yoga, mindfulness, meditation and breathing has helped them deal with the pressure of competitive sports, as well as giving them the mental clarity and space to perform better.

Body and mind are intricately interdependent, and in my experience, fitness and healthy lifestyle habits are made infinitely more successful when coupled with a clear and centered mind.

This is where meditation comes in.

I began meditation at 9 years old. Meditation was a powerful tool my family and I shared to cultivate mindfulness and clarity — because nurturing a balanced, healthy home was something we all cared about. I didn’t know how the practice might benefit my life in the long-run, but all that mattered was how it made me feel in the present moment. In my teenage and adult years, the practice of meditation stayed with me as a lifestyle technique I could use in countless situations. The mental strength gained through meditation, which I have the benefit of nearly a lifetime in practicing, gives me that extra edge to stay centered and persevere through even the hardest of “workouts,” whatever shapes they might take.

Many recent studies illustrate meditation’s benefits. A study from researchers in Brazil showed that meditation increases people’s mental focus.  Researchers in India have found that meditation (and yoga!) can improve stamina, cardiorespiratory performance, and even increase the body’s secretion of melatonin, which is important in sleep regulation. Finally, another study by researchers at the University of Oregon demonstrated that mindfulness meditation training can even lead to white matter growth in the brain. While these studies are only preliminary, they do suggest that meditation could provide benefits for athletes in their training. And for the rest of us, meditation is a powerful tool for helping us achieve our fitness intents.

My father, Deepak Chopra, is a great example of someone who has been meditating for many years and has maintained excellent health into his 60’s. Through my own meditation practice, I have gained more awareness of my body, and the ability to listen to what I need to feel healthier, more energetic and more balanced.

My intent is to continue meditating for my own mental, physical, and spiritual health, and to encourage others to incorporate meditation into their every day routines. And, I’d love to hear from you if meditation affects your exercise experience, in particular.

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If you would like to learn the basics of meditation and live in New York, I’d like to invite you to join me for a very special evening of mindfulness and meditation in partnership with Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY.

On Thursday, June 20th, I’ll be teaching a short meditation, followed by a reception with refreshments and live entertainment at the Reebok Sports Club/NY,  from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. We’ll cover strategies for quieting your mind and incorporating meditation into your life, as well as the vast health benefits of its practice. More information here

Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

We will miss you, Debbie Ford.

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This morning, when my father forwarded me the news that Debbie Ford had passed away, I was running around NYC trying to find flu medicine for my daughter. How the everyday routines seem so insignificant at times.

I read the email message from Arielle Ford, Debbie’s sister, to my father at a street corner, moved by Arielle’s words that Debbie is now at peace. While not unexpected, the news still stung and the overwhelming sadness of losing such a teacher, friend, mentor took over. I could not help but think we only lost David Simon not so long ago. Why is it that we lose such wonderful souls too early? There seems no good reason yet again.

Debbie inspired so many people with her willingness to share her painful past, her shadows and healing. Here amazing books, Spiritual Divorce, The Dark Side of The Light Chasers and The Secret of The Shadow transformed peoples lives.

She was an amazing mother to Beau, now a young man whom we all watched grow with pride. Her sisterhood with Arielle was one I have always watched with love and admiration, hoping the my 2 girls will always be so close. She was a dear friend individually to both my mother and my father. And for me, she was a mentor, someone I admired as a mother and teacher and aspired to be like as a writer.

Arielle has shared a beautiful page to remember Debbie, there are some lovely memories of Debbie being posted on her Facebook page here, and we were honored to share some of Debbie’s words here on Intent.

How Intent is Giving Back

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Late last we year Intent decided to try something new.  We asked people to support our Intent to give back, and for every support we said we would give $1 to a cause recommended by the community.  We received over 130 supports, and decided to chose three foundations to donate $136.

To be honest, it’s not a lot at this stage, but our hope is that we can expand this concept of community supporting intents with action that is not just emotional, but tangible through petitions, volunteering and donations.

Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Kiva have reinvented ways to raise funds for companies, non-profits or causes through crowd sourcing.  Intent is eager to work with such platforms to support people’s intentions by providing resources and sites for tangible action.  We have people stating their intentions to help others every day –  hopefully, we can provide meaningful and trusted suggestions for how we can translate our intentions into action.

Tomorrow, February 7th, I am participating in the Pure Philanthropy Conference – a new, exciting forum that is bringing together the top philanthropists in Canada with social thought leaders to think about the rapidly evolving new paradigm of philanthropy.  You can learn more about the conference here (and I know they have plans to do more in Canada and expand it to the US, as well.)

I would love your thoughts on philanthropy today, as well as sites and platforms you think are creating inspiration, ease of use, motivation, and action.

And, last but not least, here are the three foundations Intent will make a donation to based on your suggestions:

 

1. American Red Cross Disaster Relief

Mission: Each year, the American Red Cross immediately responds to about 70,000 natural and man-made disasters in the U.S., ranging from fires to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents and explosions. People count on the Red Cross to help them in their darkest hour.

Why we chose them: For their remarkable work in helping people during Hurricane Sandy and for all the other people they help each year.

2. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital 

Mission: To find cures for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases through research and treatment. And no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

Why we chose them: St. Jude’s is not only taking care of our world’s sickest children, they’re actively working to find cures for the diseases that ail them. St. Jude’s is a pioneer in both clinical treatment and scientific research, and they’re saving countless children’s lives.

3. Half The Sky Movement

Mission: Cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time.

Why we chose them: Led by world-renown journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDun, Half the Sky has launched a transmedia project that uses video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools. We, as a media company ourselves, are inspired by the way they’re using online media to promote social good.

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