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How to Make Meditation Easy with Ariel Garten

Ariel Garten is the Founder of InteraXon, makers of Muse: the brain sensing headband. Muse is the award-winning headband that makes meditation easier. During guided exercises, Muse senses your brain activity and sends that information to your phone or tablet, giving you real-time audio feedback to help take the guesswork out of meditation.

Ariel previously studied neuroscience at the University of Toronto and worked in labs at Toronto’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre researching Parkinson’s disease and hippocampal neurogenesis. No mere science nerd, Ariel is a fashion designer whose clothing opened Toronto Fashion Week in ’03 and has had her work displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ariel’s uncommon combination of science and art is integral to the design of Muse and to InteraXon’s unique approach to brain sensing technology. Ariel was also a therapist in private practice.

Ariel and Muse: the brain sensing headband is regularly lauded in global media: CNN, Forbes, Popular Science, CNET, CNBC, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal Tech and more, for creating what Huffington Post calls ‘the beautiful headband that will make you smarter’.

Meditation is a simple path to a healthier, more productive life. I’m excited about today’s conversation with guest Ariel Garten—founder of MUSE, scientist, and expert on mindfulness and entrepreneurship—who is here to tell us how meditating for just a few minutes a day can change our relationship with our brain.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an office worker or a parent, learning to be present is how you’ll get the most from your day. By learning how to meditate, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time you spend being truly present in the now. There’s a lot of confusion out there about meditation, but meditation is simply an easy practice we can all do to make our mind better!

Stressful thoughts can lead to a rollercoaster ride of emotions that dictate our behaviors, but we can break this cycle by learning to build a better relationship with our brain. Meditating for just a few minutes a day can teach us to be aware of our thoughts and reign our emotions in when we need to—we can learn to experience emotions as a sensation that will quickly pass, and control our thinking!

In this episode, we’ll give you some great basic information about mediation, explain the difference between meditation and mindfulness, and walk you through a quick exercise to get started. We’ll cover how to integrate meditation into your everyday life, explain why meditation is vital to improving your performance and your health, and hear how Ariel is revolutionizing meditation with her MUSE device.

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"It’s in this moment that the magic happens."

Ariel Garten

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  • Meditation is simply a practice or training that leads to healthy or positive mind states—it’s meant to make your mind better.
  • Meditation is the training, mindfulness is the practice you do in your everyday life.
  • Mindfulness is being intentionally aware of your moment to moment experiences (thoughts, feelings, sensations and environment).
  • Meditation is the way to teach yourself to be mindful.
  • Meditation can be done anywhere, anytime.


  • Focused attention on the breath meditation.
  • Simple process: focus your attention on the breath, if your attention wanders notice it then bring it back to your breath (without judgement).
  • The practice of noticing your attention has wandered and bringing it back is building a really important skill.
  • Through this practice, you can learn that you are not your thoughts, how to control your thinking, and let go of negative thoughts.


  • Stress happens because we have stressful thoughts—if we can break the thought pattern, we can decrease and diffuse our stress.
  • Stressful thoughts lead to stressful physiology which reinforces the thoughts.
  • An emotion is just a sensation that you experience, rather than a rollercoaster that drives you.
  • If you don’t give an emotion a story or meaning, it will be easier for you to move on from it.


  • The right time to meditate is whenever it fits into your day—the point is to establish a practice and do it regularly.
  • Make it as easy as possible: choose the smallest amount of meditation possible and do it every day.
  • Choose a time to schedule meditation and commit to it.
  • Doesn’t have to be a huge amount—start with 3 minutes and move up to longer session when it’s comfortable for you.
  • Meditation serves you for the rest of time—can use it in difficult situations to prepare yourself.


  • 1000s of journal articles.
  • Countless benefits, too many to list: improves attention, decreases stress, wards of age-related cognitive decline, improve physiology.
  • People don’t meditate because they often think it’s difficult and confusing.


  • Inspiration: to make meditation more accessible and provide a guide on how to do it.
  • Real-time feedback on your meditation: neurofeedback.
  • The slip-on band that tracks when your attention wanders.
  • Your mind is like the weather: the band is used with an app that will tell you when your attention wanders through the noise of a storm.
  • Able to track your improvement over time and identify triggers.


  • The goal is to teach you to build a relationship with your thoughts and choose where your brain goes.
  • Training yourself to make white space and be present.
  • Special discount for Kwik listeners for the Muse device, here.

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