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You may know Ali Larter as the impossibly gorgeous actress appearing in some of our favorite films and television shows (hello, Legally Blonde!), but what you may not know is that this mama of two is an accomplished cookbook author and wellness guru. Ali has recently turned her attention to meditation and found the benefits to be so life-changing that she wanted to share it with others. Her passion for the practice led her to Stop, Breathe & Think, a meditation app that inspires you to take a personal pause, de-stress and focus and we caught up with Ali at the launch of the new kids version created by Co-founders Jamie Price and Julie Campistron, Stop, Breath & Think Kids. Read on to hear how the apps have enhanced her life…

Mindfulness and meditation have become hot topics in today’s fast paced world. Tell us about your meditation journey and what led you to Stop, Breathe & Think and Stop, Breathe & Think Kids? Why do you think it’s so important and how has it impacted your own life?

Meditation is not something that comes easily or naturally to me. I’m a very busy working mom with obligations. I love being a huge part of my family’s life and I manage to fill every moment. From spending time with my sister or my parents, to being at my son’s school or taking my daughter to ballet to making dinner for my husband – I fill all my time.

I do feel very lucky that I live in California, a place where balance and meditation is talked about and part of our everyday life and it’s not this taboo thing. I try to do yoga a couple of times a week and I work in meditation afterwards. I have found that I need to have a physical component to my meditations and I like to do deep breaths while laying down and doing a full examination of my body and my feelings. Deep breathing truly changes my demeanor and my overall feelings and approach to the day; it makes me a better mother. When you’re busy and rushing in the mornings… and you forgot to make a lunch… and your son has one shoe… it’s important to just take deep breaths. It’s important in those moments to take a few breaths to calm it down. I’m still a work in progress through.

I love the Stop, Breath and Think app because I’m a huge fan of Susan Kaiser Greenland who collaborated on the creation of the kids version, in fact, I keep her book Mindful Games on our counter. The app gives you all the guidance you need and it’s fun. I started doing it with my kids because they love screens (what kid doesn’t?), so it was easy to introduce it to them. We did the app together last night before bed because the kids had all this extra energy and we practiced the Big Foot and Leaping Toad meditations. It really works because my son Teddy will grab a blanket and a candle and really channel his mood into the whole ritual and make it an experience.  

The app is great for the kids to start understanding their emotions and teaching them that their emotions don’t control them and there are ways to work through them which is really key for me as a parent.

Raising kids can be anything but meditative at times. How do you incorporate meditation into your parenting routine? How have your kids responded?

My husband and I meditate sometimes and my son will sit with us or crawl into our lap (Not often, but he does!). I’m also using the sun setting as a time to pause and meditate. It’s helpful to remember that meditation doesn’t have to mean you are sitting with your eyes closed, sometimes just walking through the trees and taking deep breaths is enough to get you centered.

Susan just gave me an amazing tip which is when everyone is rushing out the door in the morning and feeling crazed, you stop together and take three deep breaths. It takes no time and resets you before you go out. That’s a meditation and makes a big difference. It’s simple, quick, easy and can change your energy and the way you are feeling.

Susan just gave me an amazing tip which is when everyone is rushing out the door in the morning and feeling crazed, you stop together and take three deep breaths.

Do you have any life hacks or non-negotiables that help you juggle motherhood with your career?

Things are constantly changing because I’ve chosen a career that doesn’t have much stability; from the hours I work to the projects that I’m working on. For me, cooking dinner at least a couple of days a week or baking a few mornings a week with my kids, are my non-negotiables. Sometimes I do the prep before to make it easy and I have groceries delivered because I don’t have a ton of time, but just that 20 minutes together is all you need. My son makes an epic pesto that I pair with spelt pasta! When we’re out, I allow my kids treats like ice cream and cookies, but when we’re at home I try to cut out refined sugars and use ingredients that are healthy. That makes me feel good and I like that we can create together.

I also have a babysitter and we prioritize going out at least twice a week. I recently had dinner with dear friends and the kids and thought, “who is this fun for?”. It’s stressful. Figuring out what works and creating pleasurable experiences with the kids is what I focus on.

Parenting is one of the most challenging (and rewarding!) jobs in world but you have the added of stress of doing it in the public eye. What does your mama community look like and who do you turn to for support?

I have an incredible mama community. I had dear friends before my son was born, but I was the first one in my network to have kids, so I had to reach out and find those mommies to connect with. Luckily, I did and they’ve been a constant source of inspiration and understanding and are always there to have a glass of wine when you need it. They’re so great to answer questions because there are so many of them! No two kids are the same and I think we all worry too much. Having that outlet is so important for me. My sister is a third grade teacher and such an incredible mother, our relationship has gotten stronger since having kids. It’s great to be able to relate to other moms and know that you aren’t crazy.

What does your typical morning look like?

I’m always trying to find a schedule that works. Luckily, my kids sleep. My son comes to snuggle with us each morning around 6:30-6:45 and then we get my daughter up. We all have breakfast together; pancakes or muffins that I’ve made. Some mornings are relaxing and we have extra time so the kids color, other times it’s complete chaos.

There’s no such thing a “normal” morning. This morning I had to be in hair and makeup at 8am so I was in bed by 9am and woke up at 6am and went for a run. I know that if I exercise that I’m calmer and feel better; I’m a better mom… it’s part of my meditation and better prepares me for the day.

3 pearls of wisdom

1.

Trust that everything is going to be ok.

2.

Laugh when you want to cry.

3.

Even when you are at your most frustrated, kiss your babies because they won’t be that way for long.

xx Ali Larter
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