When I took Ben’s intro to Vedic meditation class, it was 2013. I was won over by how much science backed its claims and was totally interested. So, naturally, I waited nearly three years to take the course. At that point, I was about to quit my steady but stressful corporate job I’d held for 7 years, and I decided to pick a course that would get me through my first full week as a free agent. It was the best choice I ever made.
I’m super skeptical of anything I deem “mystical,” and I’d had bad experiences trying to meditate in the past. When Ben gave me my mantra and I sat down to, you know, think about it, I was shocked to feel like I was doing something that was, unmistakably, meditating. It just felt good, somewhere deep inside my brain. Sort of like being awake to enjoy the feeling of sleep. It’s the best.
The real value of the course, though, is Ben’s advice on managing meditation in your everyday life. Meditating on the subway, on an airplane, when you’re sick. Not all of it is relevant right away; all of it has been important in the eight months since I took the course.
The most important change I’ve noticed through meditation is that I’m a better thinker. I approach things more rationally, more thoughtfully, and more calmly than ever before. And when I think about everything I’ve done, tried, been open to, and said “no way” to over the past eight months, the change in my life is bigger and better than any overnight revelation might have been. And my mom says I sound happy :)
Caitlin Barrett, Small Business Owner - Brooklyn, NY
It will be two years in October since I started meditating. Meditation has really become a basic part of my daily routine that I rarely think or talk about. It is simply something I do. So, it is always interesting to me when someone who knows me well, brings meditation up.
I recently saw an old friend who I know from grad school. We meet in Central Park to pick up tickets for Shakespeare in the Park. Shortly after getting the tickets, the sky turned dark and rain starting coming down. We hid under the trees and I told me friend I was sure the storm would pass quickly. Indeed, after soaking everything, the rain stopped. I told my friend I think we will be fine. “You know Bill,” he said, “since you started meditating you have gotten annoyingly positive.” With that, the theater announced that as soon as the seats were dried off, the show would begin. And, again, I said, I think this will work out fine. "You know Bill, you have become one of those people who say—'it’s all good!'".
With that the storm started again. I admitted it wasn’t a good night for Shakespeare. Instead, we got dinner.
William Postrion, Real Estate Agent - New York, New York
Ben's Vedic Meditation class could have not come at a better time. I was at a crossroad and searching for direction. Who would have thought that Vedic Meditation would bring such clarity, focus and balance to my life. It's been a little over 7 months that I begin meditating and my entire experience has changed for the better. I became self aware and began to really live in the present for the first time. I began to have the strength to walk away from things that no longer fulfilled me. I found that my stress and anxiety began to slowly dissipate. Living a life of fullness started becoming my top priority. I can't imagine life without daily meditation. I am constantly discovering new qualities within myself.
Jasmin Luciano, VP of Business Development - New York, New York
Just like many others who suffered from anxiety that came along with the day to day stresses of a fast paced working environment, my Sundays were filled with the pending doom of what Monday would bring. Little to no sleep came with those nights, no amount of exercise seemed to help, and I was not interested in having to be medicated with sleeping pills for the rest of my life. It would take days to have some sense of normalcy return to my daily routine. The toll that this way of living had on my life became very noticeable, both physically and mentally. I had become impatient, uptight, tired and unaware.
I knew I had stumbled upon something remarkable when within the first two days of practicing Vedic Meditation with Ben, I no longer needed a pill to get through a Sunday night's sleep.
With each day of practice comes new personal breakthroughs. Along with sleeping through the night, I need less sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and tackle a long work day. My professional life has improved with a new found sense of patience I had been lacking. A general sense of well being, clarity and awareness follow me throughout the day. My personal relationships have seen drastic improvements, so much so that my wife is fully committed to learning the practice herself. I am in the best physical shape I have ever been in.
As a teacher, Ben took the time to address every one of his students and their concerns surrounding this new and life changing practice before, during and after class. He is truly committed to his students well being and sharing the wealth of knowledge he has obtained. I am truly grateful to have found Ben and the practice of Vedic Meditation.
Paul Accardi, Chief Financial Officer - New York, New York
I didn’t think that I could do it. I work four days per week as a school psychologist, and am a mom to three busy boys (twins who are 9, and a 7-year-old). I’m here to tell you that if I can do it, anyone can. I found that I didn’t want to miss meditating, as I felt so much more refreshed and energetic after each meditation. I built it into my schedule, just like anything else, and the boys (and my husband) are protective of my meditation time.
Since learning meditation almost exactly one year ago, I have not had one migraine headache. Further, I made it through the long winter without my usual cold-turned-sinus infection for the first time in my adult life. When everyone else around me became ill, I fit in an extra meditation (yes, sometimes three in one day!), and stayed healthy. I continue to fall asleep every night effortlessly. These benefits of meditation are priceless.
Almost even more importantly, for the first time in years, I was doing something for me that required time for myself each day. This was amazing on many levels (as all parents can understand), but I think it was not only amazing for me, but beneficial for my boys to see me putting myself first several times every day. I notice that I am more patient with them (this was needed!), and have become a more understanding friend to others.
Ben is an incredible, patient, real, down-to-earth teacher who truly is changing the world, one meditator at a time. Creating a bit more peace in each person through meditation has an impact on so many lives. He is always available for questions and encouragement whenever needed. I am so thankful to have been given the gift of learning this invaluable practice.
Erin Buchholz, School Psychologist - Wooster, Ohio
After hearing about the benefits of mediation for a little while, I decided to take Ben’s course and it was one of the best decisions I could have made. Ben’s thorough explanation of the practice, benefits, and history of Vedic Mediation made it immediately relatable to my life and the benefits have far surpassed my expectations. Coming from a relatively high stress job and busy schedule in general, being ‘stressed’ was a constant in my life and nothing that I expected to change. Nowadays, my perspective has done a complete 180 and I no longer react to high-stress situations in the same way that I know I would have in the past.
There is a sense of balance and control in my life that wasn’t there before and I can confidently attribute the decline in migraine/headache days a month and the decrease in my daily stress levels to meditating. It initially seemed like 20 minutes in the morning and evening would be too much for me to commit to but instead it has become something I don’t want to start or end my day without. Learning and practicing Vedic Mediation has made such a positive impact on my life that I just wish I knew about it sooner!
Jackie Ayzen, Director of Strategic Retail Accounts - Queens, New York
When I decided to take Ben’s Vedic Meditation course, I was seeking a way to increase my energy level and improve my reaction to stress at work. As a public relations professional who is constantly multi-tasking in a fast paced industry, I was having trouble staying focused and calm during my busy days. Since I started meditating in April 2014, I have experienced improvements in these areas, along with numerous other benefits that I didn't even anticipate. I now sleep better and need less sleep to feel fully rested. I have more energy throughout the day and am more focused in both my personal and professional life. Before meditation, I looked toward exercise as a way to relieve stress, but now I work out because I truly enjoy it. At work, I am known as calm, cool and collected by my colleagues and I've recommended Ben’s course to many others in my profession, who have also had wonderful experiences.
Ben’s deep understanding of this ancient practice and his ability to help his students fit meditation into their busy schedules has been a real asset to me as my practice has evolved. Since I started meditating, I wouldn't say that I've become a different person, just that I am now the best version of myself. I can’t imagine my life without Vedic Meditation and only wish I had found it sooner.
-Lauren Plate, Vice President - New York, New York
Before learning meditation with Ben, I was often cranky and impatient. Living in NYC it can seem like we are bombarded with things and people designed to annoy or thwart us as we go about our day. The taxi drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians at intersections, that group of tourists stopping in front of you on the sidewalk, and the people on subway stairs immersed in their cellphones were like personal insults to the old me. I was mostly healthy and happy, but definitely more irritable than a normal person should be.
Nine months later, I’m much calmer and less impatient. Meditating twice a day has helped me see that the world is bigger and more nuanced. There are things we can control and things we can’t. Regular meditation has allowed me to let go of the latter and concentrate on what I can do to enhance my life rather than continue to sabotage it.
Other benefits I've noticed include finding it easier to fall asleep at night, waking up feeling rested, and just a general sense of comfort in the world.
-Shawn Hoke, Program Manager - Brooklyn, New York
I've always been prone to overthinking: creating mental to-do lists, mulling decisions; and, if I'm being completely honest, worrying. When I took up running several years ago, I assumed I'd be using the time to "clear my head." I love running, but it definitely didn't have the calming effect I anticipated. It wasn't until I learned meditation that I gained the ability to quiet my mind. For twenty minutes, twice a day, I give myself permission to stop thinking--it's such a treat, and the benefits carry over into the rest of my day.
I've been practicing meditation for almost a year, and I don't think it's a coincidence that during this time I'm the least anxious and most self-assured I've ever been. I'm also thrilled to say my habit of waking up at 2 AM (and being unable to get back to sleep) is now a thing of the past.
Once you learn Vedic Meditation and commit to practicing it, you're good to go. You don't need any props or crutches, and you can do it virtually anywhere. That can't be said for much else in this world.
-Kate Nyland, Faculty Affairs Administrator - Brooklyn, New York
Ben’s meditation course helped me remove a lot of the mental clutter in my life. I am definitely an active mind person with many thoughts running through my brain that did lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety. I have spent the past few years focusing on my physical well being and lost nearly 35 pounds but had yet to fully combine the path of physical and spiritual well being. I have found my meditation practice to be a fantastic stress reliever, allowing myself to discard some of the unnecessary thoughts. Overall my practice is helping me to take a more calm approach to life despite the constant roller coaster ride of life. I take those twenty minutes to truly let go and become centered. Ben is an amazing and giving teacher who is always there to help me improve my practice.
-Terrence Gray, Actor - New York, New York
Prior to meeting Ben and learning the Vedic meditation teachings, my life was completely out of balance. I was in a constant struggle to fill a deep sense of longing with more belongings and by numbing myself in whatever way I could. Hitting a crossroad in my life and lacking any spiritual grounding to the world around me, I was fortunate enough to meet Ben through my wife and began his simple, yet powerful training. His calm and caring nature made the entire process feel like I was learning the practice from a close friend.
Almost immediately I felt lighter, slept soundly and more capable. The weight of the world around me no longer clung to me like concrete but shed off with every mediation session. My level of stress lessened and my happiness grew. My daily encounters with others was no longer a battle but met from a place of clarity and understanding. I have found the place I am now at in life to be more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined through this daily practice.
-James Gross, VP of Sales and Partnerships - San Francisco, California
I have always been a pretty good actress, putting on a good face during adverse situations. While inside, I could feel the anger build. Keeping it all bottled up, it would last for days, spill over into everything, making life stressful. With Vedic meditation, there has been NO churning. I have been much more even and objective, not personalizing during difficult moments. Because of that, I’ve have had more clarity in situations and I am able to act appropriately to bring about positive outcomes.
I tend toward evidence based answers and Ben’s teaching has provided me with the data to understand “why” 5,000 year old Vedic Meditation, works.
He is clear and careful in his explanation and patient to make sure that I practiced, even though I have a heavy work/travel schedule.
So, everything old is new again, only better.
-Rochelle Udell, Creative Director - Ossining, New York
I originally sought out Vedic Meditation to help with lower energy levels and reduced concentration from living in the city and like others, not sleeping a ton. Now I find myself feeling much more relaxed, and my body and mind both feel like they’re in a steady state of equilibrium. Meditation has made a profound impact on my relationships, I'm calmer and more patient with friends and strangers. I much more thoughtful these days, often times stepping back to assess situations and handle things with more tactfulness whether for work or in my personal life. I feel better. My sleep is deeper, I'm less stressed, my anxiety is lot a lower and I have more energy on a daily basis at work.
Ben’s knowledge is immediately evident and he genuinely cares about each of his students – realizing we all have different lives and different goals for meditation. Instead of giving the crash course for Vedic Meditation, he takes the time to explain each component of the practice, clearly explaining how and why meditating twice daily can improve the way we think and feel. Like anything else, what we put in to our meditation is ultimately what we get out. This is a great practice for everyday people who live a busy life, but want to improve themselves physically and mentally.
-Andrew Abbott, Account Executive - New York, New York
It’s not that I think of myself as more patient…I’m just not impatient any more.
-Doug Turshen, Book Designer - Ossining, New York
I think that I am in a much better place, personally and professionally. And a lot of it has to do with how I react to different situations. Instead of always focusing on the negative, I am able to focus on the positive of every situation. Not everything "bad" that happens is "doom and gloom" like it used to be. I like to say that meditation has helped me to not be a "Debbie Downer" all the time. It's easier for me to let go of things and I like to think that I am a much more happier, energetic person because of it.
-Tina Tang, Accountant - New York, New York
I'm so glad I took Ben's Vedic Meditation course. I'm not really the "spiritual" type, as I like concrete scientific reasoning. I attended the free Intro Class first to see what Vedic Meditation was all about. It wasn't just the scientific evidence on the benefits of Vedic Meditation, but it was also the way Ben made it so easy to understand with real life examples. We don't all have free time, the same schedules, anxiety, or the same lifestyles. He used examples that really hit home for me. After the talk, I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.
Throughout the course, Ben was very supportive and worked with me (and the other students) on how to best fit meditation into our crazy schedules and lifestyles. He answered any question thrown his way with both knowledge and feasible solutions. He was very attentive during the course, but it didn't end there. Ben stays in touch regularly to see how our practice is coming along and invites his former students to all courses and group meditation sessions. Ben is amazing and it shows that he really cares about his students, even after a course ends.
Now I want to talk about whether meditation worked for me. When I signed up for the course, I was hopeful, but still very skeptical. When I started meditating, I was SHOCKED! I always had anxiety, high stress levels, fatigue, and never felt like I got enough sleep. Even if I slept for over 10 hours, I would wake up even more tired. I used to be tormented by nightmares every night. Within two days of meditation, I did not remember my dreams. I may not have had any at all. I woke up earlier than my alarm clock feeling energized (I usually play the "snooze button" game).
It was so surprising, but amazing. In addition to feeling rested after a night of sleep, I feel calmer in general. This was a major change for me. A slow walker in front of me, missing the subway, spilling hot coffee on my hand, or any other small, meaningless thing did not make me want to scream or feel like it was the WORST thing in the world, as it previously had. Those things do not matter anymore and I feel peaceful.
This affects the rest of my days tremendously: how I perform at work, time management, relationships, and just feeling great. What has been challenging for me is being very consistent with it. Once I missed one session, it was easy to miss more, and then fall in the vicious cycle of stress, feeling tired, and not waking up rested. With Ben checking in often, he really works with me on how to fit my meditation into my new schedule. He is very encouraging, supportive, and always gets me back on track.
-Danielle Bass, Special Education Teacher - New York, New York