Mindfulness & Meditation Hike — Conditioning our Brain

Last week, the Make in LA team went on a hike to help us rediscover each other. No, this wasn’t some hippie-dippy trip, but an exercise in finding, centering, and focusing oneself so as to become a better entrepreneur and a better leader.

The day before Thanksgiving, we went to Stoney Point Park and hiked up big rocks to get the best view of the San Fernando Valley. Along the way we talked about health and stress and practiced exercises to improve mindfulness, concentration, breathing, and active listening. Here’s a quick preview of one of our exercises — Video clip of mindfulness intro.

Make in LA team practicing mindfulness

At Make in LA, we feel that what we call Mindfulness Meditation is important because it helps increase concentration and alertness, improves memory and self esteem, and improves one’s ability to tap creativity. We think it builds grit and balance in aspiring entrepreneurs. Meditation within the office setting has a long, if not well known, history. It begins long before start ups and tech giants, beginning instead with several socio-political movements in Asia that began exporting Eastern religious and thought practices into the Western world. It gained speed and traction with the Anti-War groups protesting Vietnam and the Cold War starting in the late 60s and moving into the late 70s. Meditation gained scientific traction in 1979 when MIT-trained molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn was able to use clinical studies to correlate meditative activities and improvement in stress and pain experiences. He, among many other scientists, psychologists, and sociologists found positive benefits to practicing meditative behaviors for people suffering a wide range of inflictions and conditions. As meditation moved further forward into society’s view, the tech and business worlds saw in it great potential to help them deal with the fast pace and ever changing worlds of their respective sectors.

Meditation has made such an impact on the tech, business, and start up world that many large household names encourage their corporate employees to meditate: HBO, Google, Nike, and Time Warner Cable to name a few. Businesses as a whole don’t just encourage meditation to improve daily and work life; many of the biggest names in leading industries do it as well. Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records, has discussed that he finds practicing meditation in the morning to be one of the most effective was to start his days. Apple senior VP of software Craig Federighi also meditates in the morning, citing that he finds meditation calms an unruly mind. And probably most important of all, Oprah is not just known to advocate for consistent meditation, especially in the workplace, but is a disciplined practitioner of transcendental meditation twice a day. And we all know what Oprah says, goes.

Make in LA team after a great hike

Make in LA wants to help start ups in particular deal with the constant pressure and chaos of trying to get a dream off the ground through the most healthy, beneficial, and long term sustainable methods. We find that the methods of Mindfulness Meditation work best to combat the struggles specific to entrepreneurs. You can find a walkthrough of our favorite meditative techniques here; we leveraged the talent of Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google’s earliest engineers and personal growth pioneer.

About Make in LA:

Make in LA makes hardware less hard, working with 5 promising start-ups at a time. We de-risk hardware companies by focusing on the team, the technology, the market, and the manufacturing with our in-house experts as well as our global network. Perks include office space, prototype lab, production facilities, mentoring, and investments up to $150,000 in the first 4 months. Our philosophy is to focus on entrepreneurs, their products and their business — in that order.

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Originally published at makeinla.com on November 29, 2015.