With Darvina Plante
Meditation has become the bedrock of Darvina Plante’s life. And yet, for our ambassador and full-time yogi, it’s not all about having a stereotypical, sit-down practice. “Meditation doesn't have to be the classic image of sitting still,” she says. “There’s also mindful movement, like swimming and walking, or simply taking time for yourself. These meditative practices are so important in the stressful world we live in.”
According to Darvina, the key is experimentation. “Figure out what a meditation practice is for you. It will evolve over time, so don’t be afraid to try different things and just enjoy the journey.”
Here, she explains how she found her own meditation practice, why it doesn’t have to be conventional and how you too can create one for yourself.
What’s your meditation?
I swim three times a week. It’s a moving meditation and it’s become imperative to my life. There’s something so wonderful about being in the water and allowing the mind not to think about anything apart from being in that moment, just moving and breathing. It always leaves me feeling grounded, focused and recentred.
Trying to keep a seated meditation practice going in-between teaching classes in the hustle and bustle of London can be a challenge, so if I’m short on time then swimming or taking my dog for a walk are great ways to stay connected and feel the same effects.
How did you discover it?
I found yoga around 16 years ago. I was living in Los Angeles and working in entertainment, leading a very different life. It was stressful and challenging. I started cleaning mats in a hot yoga studio and tried my first class. I soon started seeing the benefits of the practice, and after moving back to London, I began teaching. That’s when I discovered meditation, and other practices beyond the physical poses. Having somewhere to check in, whether that’s the mat or the pool, has been a game changer.
What impact has meditation had on your life?
We’re told to buy into this way of living, that if you’re not going at 1,000 miles a minute, you’re not being productive enough. When you practise meditation, you start to understand the benefits of just being present with your thoughts. For me that’s non-negotiable. It’s awesome.
What are the main benefits of starting a meditation practice (whatever that might be)?
For me personally, it allows me to come from a more considered place. It gives me a moment, so I’m not so reactive. I get to choose how to respond, whether that’s in my job, relationships, or daily life. It’s not that meditation means you don’t get angry, but you can catch yourself before reaching that point. If you suffer from anxiety, yoga and meditation can also be really beneficial.
Why do you think meditation is important, especially in today’s world?
We live in a rat race where being busy is idealised. But by taking these moments of stillness, you’re taking your power back. This power already exists inside of you. It’s about knowing how to access it.
How can we make meditation more accessible to beginners?
Meditation doesn’t need to be complex. Think less about it being a rigid, hour-long practice and instead see it as giving time to yourself. You could set your timer and simply lie down on your mat for ten minutes, or appreciate the sun beating down on your face. Or just enjoy your coffee in the garden. These are forms of meditation that we can all do—you just need to figure out what the practice is for you. It will evolve over time, so don’t be afraid to try different things and just enjoy the journey.