How Light Watkins, Founder of The Shine, Does Mornings

Meditation should be like brushing your teeth.

No morning is exactly the same. And what works for one person, may not get another out of bed. That being said, there are some people who have done a damn good job at grabbing mornings by the horns and harnessing their power. As a part of our #MorningRoutine campaign, we are talking to a few of those individuals, taking a deep dive into their a.m. rituals and stealing a few of their habits for our own.


EVERUP: When you hear the word morning, what comes to mind?

LIGHT: Paradise (as in, “another day in…”).

Are you a morning person or someone who hits the snooze button five times?

I’m both a morning and night person. And fortunately, I don’t usually need an alarm to wake up early. But sometimes I’ll set it for much earlier than I need to get up, because I find something very satisfying about hitting the snooze, knowing you have more time to sleep.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

I sit up in my bed against the headboard and meditate for 20 minutes every morning.

Coffee or no coffee?

About two years ago, I started drinking lattes on occasion, just for the taste. But I never have the feeling of needing coffee to get going in the day.

What do you typically eat for breakfast? 

Some sort of egg dish. A frittata or scramble, and some greens: a salad or sautéed kale. I chase it with some variety of hot green tea.

Do you exercise in the morning? If so, what type of exercise do you typically do?

Yes, morning or after work hours. I do a mixture of hill sprints and weight training.

How has your routine changed over the years?

I’ve had to be more structured in my routine because my professional operation has a lot of moving parts, and if I start trying to wing it, I can’t fit everything in. And my routine consists of all things that I enjoy. So I don’t really want to leave anything out.

What about technology in the morning? Do you reach for your phone right away or prefer to wait before delving into the news cycle, email etc.?

It depends. Sometimes it’s right away, but most times it’s after meditation. I have a daily email that goes out each morning. And I usually check to make sure it went out first, then I meditate.

What about using technology to jumpstart your morning or make it more productive? Are there any apps or social media accounts that you utilize in the morning to get your day going?

Not that I can think of. But there may be an organization app that I should be using.

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Which tasks do you tend to tackle first when you start working?

Responding to time-sensitive emails, and making my to-do list for the day so I have a clear idea of what I want to realistically accomplish for that day. And checking my calendar so I can schedule around appointments, and figure out when I will work out that day.

How do your weekend mornings differ from the weekdays?

For me every day is kind of the same. There are no weekends, meaning every day for me is potentially a weekend. As a writer and entrepreneur, I work and write every day. Although with relationships, I make myself more available for partner time on weekends. And during college football season, my Saturdays are shot watching back-to-back games.

If your morning routine is thrown off for some reason, does it have a big impact on the rest of your day?

Sometimes, slightly, but not really. I’m not strongly attached to anything except my meditation. As long as I can meditate later, or do it in transit, I’m good. I’ll catch up on everything else when I get around to it, and remember to plan better the next time.

What’s one thing that you think everyone should do in the morning?

Without a doubt, meditate. It brings a level of orderliness to your mind, and therefore to your day, that you wouldn’t enjoy otherwise. And the only way to know what that is like is to do it consistently. Once or twice here and there isn’t enough. It’s got to be like brushing your teeth. Only then will you see the true value of meditation.

Light Watkins has been operating in the meditation space for over 15 years. He is based in Santa Monica, and travels the world showing people from all walks of life how to meditate in a self-sufficient way. Light is also author of The Inner Gym book series. He’s a regular blogger, a TEDx speaker, and he founded The Shine in June 2014 in Los Angeles.



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