Did you see this article? In the last 5 years, there’s been a 55% increase in the number of Americans doing yoga, and a 350% increase in the number of Americans meditating. 350%! In just five years! The article starts out with this:

“Yoga and meditation, two ancient practices, are now officially the most popular alternative health approaches in the United States, each used by around 35 million adults.”

Then it goes into the benefits of these practices — with research and data to back up the claims. For example:

“A 2014 meta-analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that meditation, and in particular mindfulness, can have a role in treating depression, anxiety, and pain in adults — as much as medications but with no side effects.”

The article also goes into concerns with the trends. It turns out white people have more access to these practices than people of color, and that practitioners are concerned that as the popularity grows, the practices could be corrupted.

“And as more people see yoga and meditation as a business opportunity, “there’s a challenge around preserving the authenticity of these practices and ensuring they are taught with fidelity,” said Davidson. That means respecting and sharing the long history of the practices, and teaching them in a rigorous way.”

In the mood to discuss this with me? Are you taking part in this mindfulness trend? I suppose I’m feeling a bit out of the loop. I mean, I’m definitely aware that people are talking more and more about meditation, but I would have never guessed there’s been a 350% increase. I don’t think I understood how many people are meditating.

As for yoga, I haven’t attended classes since we lived in New York (which seems so long ago!). I tend to put yoga in the exercise category, and I haven’t really thought of it as a mindfulness practice. Obviously I realize it can work in either category, but for me personally, I used yoga as an attempt to stay fit, not as a tool for mental health.

Because there’s been a big boom in other types of exercise classes — like spin and barre and dozens of others — I guess I had the impression that the yoga trend had peaked, and that people had moved to other options. Turns out I have it all wrong. Hah! (This is not the first time I’ve misunderstood the scope and longevity of a trend. Another time, ask me about how long I thought the candle trend would last when I was asked back in 1995.)

How about you? Do you have a regular yoga practice? Or like me, did you have one in the past? And what are your thoughts on meditation? Do you practice? If yes, where did you learn about it? Or learn how to do it? Do you use an app? Did you read a book? Take a class? Have you tried different types of meditation? I’m so curious!

P.S. — After I read the article, I ended up looking into mindfulness products to see if there’s anything that sparked my interest. And there was! Eleven of my finds are below — some I want to purchase, others I just think are noteworthy. If you have any mindfulness products to recommend to me, I’m all ears.

Mindfulness Cards — $16
You can draw one card to form an intention for the day, or pull several for a more complex reading. Did you see them in the image at top? I think they’re so pretty.

Mindful Breathing Necklace — $95
Todd and Vanessa Steinberg created a pendant that encourages slow, conscious breathing, after they were inspired by a conversation with a flute-maker who taught them about ancient Japanese monks and their breathing techniques.

 

I Am Here Now Mindfulness Journal — $11
It’s designed to help you explore the world with greater curiosity and find moments of mindfulness in everyday life, while encouraging your creativity along the way.

Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm — $30
I’m told a few drops rubbed onto temples and massaged on the neck will soothe the skin and mind and help you de-stress. 

Brain Sensing Headband — $160
This one I thought was noteworthy because it’s such a modern take on an ancient idea. In the product description is says: Sometimes your mind is calm and sometimes it’s active, this headband will teach you to recognize a calm mind and help you get there. It seems like this sort of tech-response could make mindfulness feel less experimental or hippy-dippy for those who raise their eyebrows at the idea of mediation. Do you agree? Or does this seem hokey?

A Sloth’s Guide to Mindfulness — $17
In this book, you follow a serene and smiley sloth through a series of light meditations and daily reflections. 

Healing Crystal Gift Set — $30
This pretty little set includes all the necessary stones to get started in the world of crystal healing. I don’t know a single thing about crystal healing, but the look of this set is so appealing to me — lots of great little textures, and I love the rainbow stones.

Drunk Elephant Juju Bar — $28
You can send “good juju” to a friend if you gift them this anything-but-ordinary facial soap. With marula oil to help your skin look as zen as it feels.

Essential Oil Diffuser — $55
Here’s another option for people who want the ancient appeal of mediation, with the modern appeal of high-tech and clean lines. This has every up-to-date feature. It’s made of antibacterial materials to prevent mold buildup. It has a blue night mood light. And it turns off automatically if water runs out. 

Tiesta Tea Relaxer Set — $28
Tiesta Tea Relaxers are new to me. They’re designed to produce relaxing effects for both your body and mind, and they come in a wide variety of flavors. This set will help you try seven different options so you can find a favorite.


The Guide to Mindful Lettering — This is seems perfect for the right-brained among us that do well with a drawing utensil in their hand. You know those calming coloring books? This seems like it would offer similar benefits but with an added dose of creativity and skill-building.

Mala or Meditation Beads — $25
I found this mala on Etsy. There are many options and they can get very expensive — well into the hundreds. But this one seems both relatively affordable, and very beautiful. It’s made of matte Amazonite beads and is intended for meditation, praying, or to obtain peace. The product description mentions that Amazonite has been used to heal and open heart and throat chakras to enhance communication concerning love as well as with third eye chakra to increase intuition. If you’re unsure how mala beads are used in meditation, here’s a video.