Gwyneth Paltrow Wants You to Meditate

With Moments of Space, her new meditation app, the entrepreneur is seeking to make the ancient practice accessible to all.

<p>Greg Williams</p>

Greg Williams

In early March, while waiting for the 6 train to arrive during a midday commute to InStyle headquarters in New York City, Gwyneth Paltrow led me through a three-minute meditation via Zoom. I followed her clear direction, agreeing to acutely focus my attention on the platform where I stood and my body’s relation to the underground tunnels just a few feet away.

Trying to find zen on the subway isn’t easy. But for just a few moments, I felt relaxed, able to drown out the noise of upcoming deadlines and the general air of malaise that comes with hard news notifications on my phone. Paltrow’s meditative practice worked; I drank the Kool-Aid, luxuriously and consciously separating myself from the screaming child nearby and the sound of train doors rapidly opening and closing.

Paltrow, who needs no introduction, perpetually makes headlines for her unconventional approach to personal wellness, and her latest project is here for the public to dissect: Moments of Space, a new meditation app designed to help users meditate anytime, anywhere with an “eyes-open” methodology (more on that below).

<p>Greg Williams</p>

Greg Williams

The actress is already CEO of goop, her luxury lifestyle brand that started as a newsletter back in 2008 touting health tips and evolved into a robust content and e-commerce business, where GP devotees can purchase everything from rose gold eye lash curlers to G. Label cashmere sweaters and “This Smells Like My Vagina” candles. So why meditation now, and why tech?

“The world is in such a tough place right now, and it's a little oasis of calm. We all need to be taking a minute to really connect inward and to connect to that oneness and whatever spiritual thing you believe in. It's just the time,” Paltrow says. “The only way we're going to make any progress as a species is by remembering that we're all connected and human beings are all equal, and we all want the same things for our kids and for ourselves. And I think meditation is a really quick way to access that oneness.”

<p>Greg Williams</p>

Greg Williams

For this project, Paltrow teamed up with Kim Little, a Buddhist and software developer who, in her words, is “making the world better” and using his knowledge to “build connection and peace.” Per marketing materials, “Meditating with open eyes teaches you to remain present in any situation, allowing you to blend your practice with your daily life.” Moments of Space uses AI technology to personalize each user’s experience, whether their goal is to simply find solace from the day’s stressors, or unlock a greater consciousness. It’s woo-woo, but it's up to you to decide how deep to dive.

Below, Paltrow opens up about her meditative rituals, the funniest members of her family, and how you, too, can find joy in life’s quieter moments.

InStyle: As an app, Moments of Space offers a quick entry point to meditation newbies. From your perspective, what are the benefits of meditative practices?

Gwyneth Paltrow: You can't understand what the point of meditation is until you actually try to meditate, and until you can clear your mind and make some space and connect inward. For me, it feels like this little spring bubbling within me when I do it and I'm like, Oh, it's such a nice, relaxing feeling. And so I think there are a lot of ways for people to access that.

What I love about the eyes-open meditation is that we live in a culture where we're just inundated with input all the time, and we always think we need to be multitasking—you can multitask with this. You can be on a walk, you can be in the subway, you can be in a meeting, you can be in a conversation and pull the elements in. I never knew that was possible until I met Kim. And I think this is going to be really wonderful for people just to play around with and see what they're able to access.

<p>Greg Williams</p>

Greg Williams

How did you first get into meditation?

GP: I started a yoga practice when I was about 25. Back in the ‘90s in New York, Madonna took me to her yoga class, and I started practicing Ashtanga yoga with Eddie Stern; he was an amazing meditation teacher, yoga practitioner, and Sanskrit scholar. I did that for years and years. Later on, I learned TM [transcendental meditation]. It was really sporadic. During COVID, my husband [Brad Falchuk] said, “I want to learn how to meditate.” So we got my meditation teacher over and he learned. This morning, for example, I overslept. I woke up and had to jump in the shower and run into hair and makeup. [Brad] never misses a meditation and we do it together most mornings; it’s really special. It’s a nice ritual we do together.

What is it about keeping your eyes open that makes this process different, and what are some of the benefits you’ve experienced?

GP: To be able to be in nature while in meditation—walking outside with sunlight, ocean, air, and trees—is a different aspect to the kind of meditation that I've always done, which is sitting with your eyes closed. It helps me synthesize the external world, my internal world. It helps me let go of things as they come into my visual pathways and I find I stay very present when I'm doing a walking meditation in a way that's different. With my eyes-closed meditation, sometimes my mind will just go everywhere. But I think having my eyes open and doing it keeps me focused.

<p>Greg Williams</p>

Greg Williams

What if you don’t have access to the ocean or wide open spaces?

GP: You can walk! Literally walk down a busy street in New York City and do it. You can do it just sitting in a chair, or on the floor in your room. It doesn't have to be walking. You can do it when you're on a Zoom for work. That's the point of this. You can do it anywhere. When you're on an airplane, anytime.

What has been one of the more profound realizations you've had through meditation?

GP: That inside of myself and in all of us, there's this amazing wellspring of peace and wisdom and it's accessible to all of us at any time. And I think we put so many layers upon layers over that, that we cover that universal truth with so much stuff and busyness and heartbreak and material stuff, all of those layers. But if we get back down to our essence, there's a really peaceful, optimistic place in myself, and I think in many others as well.

You are very busy, with two children, a husband, multiple entertainment projects, and as CEO of goop. How do you find time to meditate? 

GP: Well, I've built it into my morning routines. Routines are really important for me. If I build a routine and I do something on a daily basis, I'll just keep doing it, whether that's exercise or working out or whatever the case may be. So that's my approach. Or you just grab it whenever you can. With the open eyes, you can literally grab it anytime.

<p>Greg Williams</p>

Greg Williams

As a public figure, you’ve always had a funny sense of humor about celebrity culture—you’re in on the joke. What keeps you laughing? These days, you just gotta laugh. 

GP: You just have to! You have to. There's so much pain in the world, it's so hard. So you're right. You got to find joy and connection. My daughter [Apple Martin] is really hilarious. She really makes me laugh. My husband is really funny, too. I giggle with him all the time. Yeah. I think humor has always been a huge thing in my life. My dad [Bruce Paltrow] was hilarious and he encouraged us to have good senses of humor, which I think my brother [Jake Paltrow] and I both do, if I may say so myself. But it's a great stress relief to laugh. I love to make fun of myself. I love stupid, funny bones humor, and it's how I stay optimistic, I think.

Do you have any go-to playlists or TV shows that are fodder for laughter?

GP: I usually watch murder-y kind of things that aren't that funny, but I guess my kids will send me memes and stuff. And there are some really funny people on the internet. Maybe they have a lot of time on their hands, but I'll tell you, there are some funny people doing some funny things.

Back to meditation. Moments of Space uses AI to help personalize every user’s meditation. What is your perspective on AI and how it’ll be used in the future?

GP: Look, AI is definitely here. The train has left the station. So I think it really becomes about, how do we continue to shape it for good? And there's certainly going to be some bad actors out there, but there are also amazing opportunities for true personalization, for a wellness platform to really understand who you are and what you need and when you need it. To have an AI wellness coach that really knows you better than you know yourself is maybe really exciting, potentially. We can decide to be scared of it or we can think about ways to harness it for our own betterment and enrichment.

Do you have any mantras that you live by?

GP: I would say in the past few years, I know this sounds crazy, but I talk to myself a lot. Not even out loud, but I'll try to change some of the ways that I used to talk to myself when I was younger that were more punitive and destructive. And so I definitely have affirmations that I'll say to myself, not every day, not all the time, but in that way, I feel like I've really befriended myself. I feel like I'm my friend and that's been a complete game-changer for me.

Moments of Space is now available on the Apple Store; the app costs $14.99 for a three-month subscription following a one-week free trial, or $29.99 a year following a two-week free trial.

For more InStyle news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on InStyle.