November 03, 2015 02:00 PM

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It can be hard for moms to carve out time to concentrate on themselves, but meditation expert Emily Fletcher believes meditating is actually the most selfless thing a mother can do.

“So many moms are so good at giving, sometimes to the point of exhaustion and depletion. If you’re running on empty, then you don’t have anything to give to your family,” explains Fletcher, who has instructed Jenna Dewan-Tatum in her Ziva Meditation technique.

“If you take the time to fill up your own tank with bliss and fulfillment and energy, then you’re going to be giving some higher quality time to your family.”

Whether you’re a mom of a newborn or older kids, Fletcher’s tips and advice will help you experience the benefits of meditation. (Dewan-Tatum credits meditation with her natural glow, so it’s definitely worth trying!)

1. Start simple.
I teach people to meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day, but beginners can start off with five minutes. Find a place to sit comfortably, with your back supported and head free. Close your eyes. You can use the word “one” as a mantra.

You are absolutely allowed to have other thoughts, and you absolutely will have other thoughts. The word “one” helps you to activate deep rest, and de-excite the nervous system in a way that makes you feel more recharged, so you have more energy for your family, more energy for your job, and more energy for your partner.

2. Find time for meditation whenever you can.
If your baby’s sleeping for 10 minutes, meditate for 10 minutes. It’s okay if it gets interrupted. You can do it on a train, on a bus, on a plane, or as a passenger in the car. You can actually do it while you’re breastfeeding, which might not be the deepest meditation ever, but you’re still and it can be a very sweet time.

3. When possible, include your kids in the meditation.
Maybe not if they’re 1 or a 2-year-old, but you can get them involved once they get around 3 or 4. What I find is that when parents try to shut their kids out of that time, then their kids get resentful of it, so instead, if you include them in the practice and let them sit next to you, they actually like the way that it feels.

4. Take turns with your partner.
Let them know that it’s something you’re incorporating into your life, and let them know that it’s a priority for you. And negotiate it. Ask for 15 minutes, and then give them 15 minutes to do something that’s important to them.

5. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t love meditating right off the bat.
It’s like any other skill, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. It takes training and practice, and then it can be simple and enjoyable.

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— Gabrielle Olya

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