Newport Beach & Company, special to the NB Indy
Workout? Check. Healthy eating? Check. Mindful of your wellness journey? Working on it. Us too.
Increasingly, meditation and the mindful component of self-care are becoming an even bigger part of the conversation about wellness. And it’s often the one we struggle with the most.
So, as Wellness Week wraps up, we sat down with Ash Kumra, mindfulness coach and co-founder of Newport Beach-based Peak Meditation, to get his thoughts on wellness and what a successful meditation experience looks like.
There are a lot of definitions of wellness, but to Kumra it means being well “from the inside to out.”
“Oftentimes our outside environment or relationships dictate how we feel. While it is great to feel appreciated by someone else, wellness needs to first start with how you feel inside,” he explained. “That is optimal well-being.”
Meditation is important because it helps you achieve mindfulness which is connecting with your inner self, Kumra said. This state of feeling can help alleviate burnout and make it easier to be productive.
“It is also a great massage for your brain, giving it a break from the busy day,” he added. “And that’s not just my opinion. Countless research papers touting the benefits of meditation have been published by scientific and medical organizations, including Harvard Medical School and Hoag.”
Wellness for Kumra includes appreciating that he lives and works in Newport Beach, he said, and he finds several ways to give back locally.
“I love living and working in Newport Beach for so many reasons,” Kumra said. “The amazing weather and active lifestyle are two big ones. Another one for me is the opportunity to give back through so many incredible organizations.”
Kumra mentioned the Newport Beach Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, and Hoag Hospital’s community outreach.
“Everyone has the opportunity to pay it forward,” he noted.
For Kumra, the beach is where he goes to feel serene and find peace of mind.
“I live by the beach and make it a daily habit to visit the ocean,” Kumra said.
For those that can’t make it to the beach, he provided a simple practice to do at home or at the office, which can be done in five easy steps.
“Don’t worry about how long you meditate; focus instead on being present and creating space in your mind to reflect,” Kumra noted.
First, focus on yourself, he explained. Take three gentle breathes in your nose and out your mouth.
“Presence is important in everything you do, especially when achieving a new goal,” he said. “Be mindful of your breath and body. Breathing is an essential part of being mindful. When you can take focused deep breaths, your mind becomes more present.”
Second, be grateful, Kumra continued. Think of three people you are grateful for.
“Imagine giving each of them a gift and telling them how much they mean to you. Envision the happiness you will feel after,” he suggested.
The reason for this step is because gratitude shifts and raises your “vibration or positive energy,” he explained.
“Gratitude allows us to appreciate the blessings we have and distracts us from the challenges we face on a daily basis,” Kumra said.
Next, think about the upcoming year, he continued.
Visualize yourself a year from now financially, Kumra suggested, what achievement happened?
Visualize yourself a year from now personally with family and friends. What are you doing?
Visualize a hobby you are enjoying. What is it?
“Focus on the present and who you are now. Visualize happiness and fill yourself up with this feeling, because you deserve it,” Kumra said.
The fourth step is “creative time,” he said.
For 60 seconds or more close your mind to outside thoughts. Sometimes it easier to do this with a timer on your phone, he advised.
“It’s important to give your mind a break from the busy world,” Kumra noted. “It’s like a brain massage!”
Lastly, it’s time to wake up.
“Gently open your eyes, feel a sense of gratitude and belief that no matter what happens you are here to thrive,” Kumra concluded.