At the Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, providing an array of luxurious amenities to residents is a top priority. Fitness and wellness are an important part of this lifestyle, and we are proud to partner with renowned mindfulness-based psychotherapist Lena Franklin for Mindful Meditation Mondays. As a mindful healer, Lena encourages her students to practice presence. We sat down with her to hear more about how she can help our residents find peace.
What made you want to devote your career to mindfulness and meditation?
Franklin: I grew up in a hybrid Buddhist/Christian home and was introduced to meditation at a young age. I would witness my mother meditating at the family altar, cultivating daily presence and compassion. This cultural foundation eventually blossomed into a deep passion to guide others on that transformative journey inward. During my schooling to become a psychotherapist, my mother suddenly passed away. This is when yoga and meditation became daily practices, as I was searching for something more than the constrictions of traditional talk therapy. It was through my mom’s teachings, a master’s education in clinical social work and formal training in Buddhist Meditation, that became the perfect convergence to birth my mindfulness-based business!
What is mindfulness to you?
Franklin: Mindfulness is paying intimate attention to the present moment, intentionally and without judgement. I often use the word presence to describe mindfulness. Presence is our true nature as human beings. When we practice mindfulness, we’re truly coming home to ourselves.
What are some of the key benefits of regular mindful meditation?
Franklin: Cultivating a consistent meditation practice has all kinds of benefits – it’s truly amazing! You’ll decrease chronic stress and increase emotional balance while simultaneously finding profound meaning, joy and love in your life. When we’re able to “be with what is” – including thoughts, feelings and body sensations, without needing to change the present moment, we become liberated from our chaotic minds. Meditation is a way to come back to the love affair of life!
What are some ways we can practice being mindful on the go or at the office?
Franklin: I often teach mindful portable practices because most of us live perpetually busy lives. There’s a technique that I call the “3 P’s” that you can integrate into daily life. Whether you’re standing in line at the grocery store or driving to work, you can practice this. It’s simple but impactful, you 1.) Pause wherever you are and stop what you’re doing. 2.) Practice 5 deep slow breaths into the belly 3.) Presence then flows over you naturally. I do this dozens of times a day…no meditation cushion or yoga mat necessary!
How is practicing meditation at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta a unique experience?
Franklin: The Monday class I teach at the Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta is truly a unique experience designed for you to shed layers or stress and busyness that tamp down your innate sense of boundless joy for living life. I often give a short teaching at the beginning of class to cultivate a powerful, healing environment. By integrating Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Yoga for Mood Management and Chinese Energy Medicine together, the meditations are customized to enhance your human potential. As I often say, presence is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the world – when we come home to presence, we transform.