‘Meditation is Medicine’: Q&A with Caitlin Cady, Author of Heavily Meditated

‘Meditation is Medicine’: Q&A with Caitlin Cady, Author of Heavily Meditated

Briefly tell us about your book, Heavily Meditated (great name BTW).

I wrote the book because I wanted to create what I wish existed when I set out into the world of meditation. It felt too hard to find all the information I needed – and at that time I wasn’t in a position to go on a retreat or drop a thousand bucks on a training. I wanted a down-to-earth, complete toolkit with everything I needed to know to feel empowered to kick off a practice.

So that’s what I did. I’ve gathered up the best of what I’ve learned about meditation thus far and put it together into a simple, practical, easy-to-use, and (I hope!) fun-to-read guide. Plus, I included access to five different audio guided meditations so that you literally have everything you need.

What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

I’m a working mama of three young kids so I never had the chance to write in huge blocks of time. I just got little writing sessions in wherever I could. I became best pals with the Pomodoro timer technique where you work for 25 minute blocks with 5 minute breaks between. That was a game-changer for me. It it such a useful tool for dipping in for a super focused mini session of writing!

How did you think of the title of the book?

Ultimately, I believe that meditation is medicine and that it can help us heal in many ways. The book is really about creating a meditation habit that sticks, and I think the title is a way of calling attention to and contrasting the habits that serve us well with those that don’t.

I’m also a big fan of wordplay, and I wanted a title that was punchy, playful and a little irreverent. I think meditation has a bit of a PR problem and people have so many misconceptions about what it is, my goal was to make the topic accessible, engaging, relatable and fun. It’s a title that makes you do a double take and hopefully brings a smile to your face. My hope is that the title signals to readers and listeners that this isn’t your typical dry, dogmatic book on meditation!

What has the response been to the book from readers?

The response has been so positive! I hear from readers (and listeners of the audiobook!) every week and it is so meaningful and moving to see the way that the book has helped thousands of people start meditating and to hear about the positive changes in their lives. It’s so touching and inspiring to me!

One surprise for me was how many experienced meditators and yoga instructors read the book and say that it helped them recommit to or deepen their practice.

How did you get into meditation?

Long story short: Meditation saved me from a life-sentence of chronic illness and the misery of perfectionism. I dish on the full story in my book, Heavily Meditated, but the gist of it is that I was a perfectionistic over-achiever and struggled with illnesses like Lyme Disease. Through meditation, I learned how to slow down and be, which allowed my nervous system and in turn, my immune system to reset. I went from burned out, sick and fearful to happy, healthy and living to my full potential.

Meditation literally changed my life and I want to help others discover the healing and transformative effects. Learning how to do it (and actually get my tush on the cush’ on a regular basis) took some doing. I wrote Heavily Meditated because I want to make it easy for others to learn meditation and get high on life. I really believe that meditation is medicine and has something to offer everyone.

I can honestly say that meditation has had a positive effect on every. single. aspect. Of my life. From the biological effects such as cooling down stress hormones like cortisol, to boosting the cocktail of happy hormones in our bodies and brains, to invoking more courage, enhancing creativity, less reactivity, more presence, more patience, a healed relationship to my body and food…I mean, I could literally go on for days about this. I talk a lot about this in the book, of course! And the thing is that meditation is progressive, so the benefits just continue to unfold into new dimensions over the days, weeks, months and years.

Can you tell us about your own meditation practice?

Morning is my non-negotiable time to get sit done, so I like to do my practice first thing in the morning after brushing my teeth. I usually do a little breath work or movement to prepare, then meditate, usually for 20 minutes. Afterwards, I like to take a brief moment to set an intention for my day and to write down three things I’m grateful for from the last 24 hours.

When I have the chance, I also love a super short sit between work and family time as it really helps me transition from doing to being with more grace. And last but not least, ending the day with a short sit is such an awesome way to unwind tension, calm the mind and prepare the nervous system to slip into sleep. Bottom line: morning is my main squeeze but I love to take a little extra on the side whenever I can!

What else do you do, besides meditation, that incorporates mindfulness into your daily life?

I think that fundamentally, you can’t have a meaningful meditation practice and not integrate the practices and philosophies into your daily life. A former teacher of mine, Rod Stryker says that the measure of your meditation is the quality of your life. I really believe that. So if you have a practice that’s working for you, the on flow effect into your life is a given. And the effect is indiscriminate. A meaningful meditation practice changes the way you relate to business, relationships, parenting, wellbeing, creativity, food, travel, the environment, death… literally everything. And therefore everything becomes an opportunity to be more mindful, more conscious, more present.

I love introducing my kids to mindfulness techniques and they certainly come in handy when parenting! I’m also a fan of bringing mindfulness to mealtime by taking a few deep breaths, offering gratitude and being fully present with my food (e.g. not eating at my desk!) as much as possible.

I also love any form of single-tasking as a form of mindfulness! Jigsaw puzzles, reading, writing, drawing, walks in nature with no headphones, all of these are ways that I like to invite myself to be full present.

Tell us about your app.

When I wrote the book, I really wanted to create a complete toolkit for folks, so they would have everything they needed to kick off a regular practice. Heavily Meditated App is packed with guided meditations and features to support your practice. The Heavily Meditated app offers a library of meditations that is as unique as you are. Choose from a variety of meditation techniques and lengths of time, or pick a guided meditation based on how you want to feel. Whether you’re seeking positivity or calm, energy or relaxation, gratitude or presence, high vibes or sweet dreams, there’s a meditation Vibe for you. That way, you can hit play and set the tone for your day (or night!). You can also set intentions for your day, get a hit of inspiration from our Inspo Deck and track your meditation practice in the Tracker Calendar. You can also get daily reminders to get sit done, if you like!

I’m so proud of the app and I absolutely love creating the new content every month. It’s so wonderful to be able to continue to share new guided meditations and techniques each month with our members!

What do you say to people who think they won’t be able to meditate?

There is no prerequisite or qualification required to start meditating. In fact, meditation invites you to show up just as you are. Meditation is inclusive and open to all.

Often, folks think their mind is too busy and that they just aren’t cut out for meditation. But here’s the truth: busy minds are welcome! It’s normal for your mind to wander. The mind is designed to seek pleasure and to be vigilant, so don’t shame yourself or feel that you’re doing it wrong when you find yourself thinking during meditation. That’s not just okay, it’s normal. And in fact, it’s part of the practice! The whole point of meditation is to practice of bringing your attention. I’ll say it again, meditation is a practice. Meaning, we practice doing it! Over and over again.

However, sometimes time is the issues. For those who are tight on time, you can still meditate! Don’t put yourself under pressure to bust out a twice-daily 20 minute practice if that feels overwhelming and unachievable. Try something as simple as 7 minutes every morning. That’s enough to start to move the dial on your day.

What are your top three tips for starting a meditation practice today?

1. Start where you are! Choose a length of time that is realistic and achievable for you.

2. The benefits show up if you do! So remember that done is better than perfect. Small, regular victories are so much more empowering and powerful than sporadic wins.

3. Make a date to meditate. Set a regular time, think of it as an appointment with your highest self. Make it a non-negotiable. Half of the resistance to meditation is just showing up. So if you commit to it, the hard part is done for you in advance. Think about when you brush your teeth, do you debate it or do you just do it? Make meditation the same! It’s mental hygiene!

I listen to self-development and wellness audiobooks. I find audio is the best way for me to incorporate these titles into my life, when I’m driving or walking my dog. What has your experience been with audiobooks?

I absolutely love audiobooks! As a young girl, I remember being on road trips with my family and we’d buy cassettes of audiobooks at gas stations. I spent hours in the back of our old Suburban listening to audiobooks and gazing out the window. Since then, I’ve never stopped listening to audiobooks! I love tuning in to something wonderful and inspiring while driving, walking or having a sauna. I tend to listen to mostly non-fiction but I love listening to fiction with my children, they adore listening to their “audios stories”!

You narrated Heavily Meditated for Bolinda Audio. What was that experience like?

It was a really fun experience! I record a lot of guided meditations for the app and for bespoke settings like spas, so there was a level of familiarity in the recording process. However, doing the book was quite different in that more of my personality could come through, which was fun. I recorded the entire book in one day which I definitely wouldn’t do again! Now I know for next time!

I’m a long-term meditator and there is a point where you become hooked on it. I love that you talk about that. What advice do you give people to become hooked on meditation?

I think one of the least often spoken about and most important things you can do to lay a solid foundation for a regular practice is to understand your why. When you’re really clear on why you’re meditating, it’s easier to show up on the regular. When I say “why” I don’t mean a reason you read about in a news story or in a blog post. I mean something super specific to you, your life, maybe some aspect of you that is being held back or overshadowed. The Discover Your Why worksheet in the book walks you through how to clarify your Why, which I really think is a lynchpin for a lasting practice!

What are you working on now?

We are adding some new categories to the app including journaling and yoga nidra, which is really exciting. I recently finished teaching a 6 week class on the breath called Breathe Well and I’ll be relaunching another round of that soon! I’m also fortunate enough to be doing private events for corporate clients who want to share the gifts of meditation with their teams, as well as working 1:1 with individuals. Lastly, I recently pitched another book to my publisher, so fingers crossed on that! And in and amongst all of that creation and teaching, I am always, first a student. I’m always seeking to deepen my understanding of the incredible body of knowledge that has been passed down for so many generations. Learning will forever be an integral part of my work.

Publisher details

Heavily Meditated
Author
Caitlin Cady
Publisher
Hardie Grant
Genre
Non Fiction
Released
01 March, 2020
ISBN
9781743796146

Synopsis

A down-to-earth guide to meditation and getting high on life.

Heavily Meditated has everything you need to know to get hooked on meditation for good. Presented in a simple, friendly, accessible style that even the busiest of meditation-doubters can relate to.

Filled with exercises, worksheets, cheat sheets and other practical tools, as well as relatable personal stories to light your way, Heavily Meditated is your down-to-earth guide to meditation, and how to turn it into a habit that sticks and reap the benefits of a happier, calmer and more intentional life.

The audiobook of Heavily Meditated is published by Bolinda Audio.
Caitlin Cady
About the author

Caitlin Cady

Caitlin Cady has been called a "wellbeing whiz" by Australian Yoga Journal and her positive perspectives and relatable, playful approach have inspired people across the globe to get lit up and live to their full potential. American by birth, Caitlin now lives with her husband and three little wildlings in Byron Bay, Australia. With a mad love for meditation and a colourful career, Caitlin is a devoted yogi, entrepreneur, author and speaker. With multiple businesses under her belt, including a night club and street mag in Byron Bay, Caitlin now channels her energy towards empowering others and pioneering meditation medicine. In a nutshell, Caitlin is a fiery Aries, hope dealer and meditation junkie, here to remind all of us of our magic and that we are born to shine.

Books by Caitlin Cady

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