Take a deep breath and relax. We can’t right now, because we’re too excited about Spa Week’s Spa & Wellness Challenge! We are so happy to see people taking the initiative to dedicate a few minutes every day to taking care of themselves. Om my goodness! The Yoga Team is relaxing their way to wellness with famous yogi Elena Brower. Elena is leading the Yoga Team and she’s challenging her team to take care of their mind by meditating for 5 minutes every day. Elena feels that meditation is about “cultivating more alertness and better listening, so you can be a better parent, partner, sibling, friend, employee, and overall person.” Who doesn’t want to be a better version of themselves?

Elena so wants you to take time out for yourself, that she has offered you these gracious words of wisdom…

“When you take 5 minutes out of your day to mediate, you should actively pause, sit, and observe your breathing in order to make some space in your body, heart and mind. Meditation for me is just about cultivating more alertness, better listening, so I can be a better Mama, daughter, sister, partner, woman.

My current practice: I just sit and simply watch my breathing rise and fall. Sometimes I do 5 minutes, as I’m recommending here; sometimes I’ll stay for 11 minutes. If I sense a tightness somewhere in my body, I breathe there. If I sense it in my heart, as doubt or sadness, I breathe there. If I see a thought passing through my mind, I breathe there. I love to breathe right into the center of my brain and make more space – right there in the midpoint of my actual brain – super soothing. Try it. I love to feel what happens in my eyes when I do that. Science has proven it out time and time again: one recent meditation study on cancer patients has shown ‘large and significant improvements in mindfulness, depression, distress and trend for quality of life,’ which speaks volumes.

At the end of each sitting, take just one extra minute — note down any resistance as well as any other observations, in your body, your heart or your mind. This seems to be the best way for me to stay with a practice that has meaning and value for me. It isn’t a prescription, it’s a guideline for you to begin your own process of sorting out what works for you, and making it your priority.” — Elena Brower

Elena’s Yoga Challenge:

Meditate for 5 minutes every day

If you also want to calm your mind, it’s not too late to sign up! You can also join the Nutrition, Fitness or Skincare teams if those are more in tune with your wellness goals. (We won’t tell Elena.)

So far it’s a close race, but there will only be four lucky winners of a $1,000 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week, although everyone will win improved health and wellness as a consolation prize!

So far here are our favorite and top-voted submissions from The Yoga Team:

Krishna: “I meditate regularly to keep myself centered. Life has a way of throwing you a curve ball every now and again.”

Steven:Looking to use yoga to get healthy and ready for the summer!”

Denise: “The beach is my favorite place is meditate and do yoga.”

Suzie: “I pledge to take 5 minutes for myself every day.”

Michelle:“Went on a run yesterday and stopped for 5-10 minutes under the Williamsburg bridge and just breathed, feeling thankful for everything in life, including that beautiful day.”

Meg: “Meditating in bed. Feels pretty great to be honest.”

Niki: “This definitely helps reduce stress!”