by Todd Plummer– Vogue
Living model industry legend Gisele Bündchen may have “retired” from the runway, but her schedule isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In addition to cochairing last week’s Met Gala and starring in an episode of National Geographic Channel’s award-winning climate change docuseries Years of Living Dangerously, Bündchen successfully balances several other hats: motherhood; being the world’s most famous unofficial Patriots cheerleader; and promoting a handful of causes near to her heart, including the restorative power of meditation.
We ran into the supermodel on Tuesday, moments before she took the stage to be honored at the Women of Vision luncheon in New York City. The event is an annual fundraiser for the David Lynch Foundation, an organization that promotes the stress-reducing properties of Transcendental Meditation to more than 1,000 women and children who have survived domestic violence and sexual assault. There, Bündchen spilled the beans on her penchant for comfy sweatpants, the unlikely places you’ll find her meditating, and how she kicks off her morning routine every single day.
Your episode of Years of Living Dangerously was so good! It made me want to be a conservationist and move to the rain forest.
Right? That’s what I thought: “Maybe I should just move to the rain forest.” But then I thought my kids would miss me and my husband probably wouldn’t like it too much, either.
Speaking of your husband, Tom Brady, both of you looked so great at the Met Gala last week.
I haven’t gone in two years but this year I was lucky enough to serve as the cohost. It’s an amazing event; it raises so much money for the museum.
And you tied in your passion for sustainability with that Stella McCartney dress you wore.
Yes, I wanted a sustainable dress, something very classic, so I called Stella. I said to her, “I want something sustainable,” and she did three or four different drawings and I loved the one I ended up choosing because it was so 1940s and had that open back. It was great. And my husband loved it. He always sees me in sweatpants, so anytime I wear something that’s not sweatpants he likes it. But that was a great dress.
Let’s talk about meditation. You started practicing in your early 20s—why?
I was going through a challenging time in my life and I started practicing yoga. I was doing a lot of Pranayama breath work, which helps balance the left and right sides of your brain, I was doing three-day silence retreats, and eventually that led me to start practicing meditation. Every time I had a challenging time and needed clarity, I would do meditation, but I wasn’t consistent about it. I would go on vacation for 10 days and meditate for an hour every day, then I would come back and maybe I wouldn’t do it every day. Whenever I felt a lot of intensity coming from all over the place, I would decide to meditate. It wasn’t until about two or three years ago that I met Mario [Orsatti, a director of the David Lynch Foundation], and he introduced me to Transcendental Meditation, that I really started to meditate more regularly.
And how did picking up the technique of Transcendental Meditation change your practice?
Well, it’s only 20 minutes two times a day, and I thought, “I’ve been doing an hour a day, so I like that!”
What is it that you like about meditation?
People have been practicing meditation for thousands of years and the reason is because it’s really a wonderful tool to grant you a different access to yourself. It’s a different awareness and new level of peace. Once you learn how to do it, it’s yours forever—you can always access that. It’s an energy inside of you. It’s not something you can lose that’s outside of yourself. It’s not physical; it’s something much deeper than that. The more you practice and the more you reach it, the more amazing it becomes.
Where do you meditate?
The thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere. And I’ve done it everywhere. On planes, the back of a taxi, sitting in hair and makeup—because of my job, sometimes you’re doing makeup for hours and hours and hours—in my bed in the morning, in nature, anywhere. All you need is 20 minutes. Even with a schedule like mine, I can find 20 minutes. For me, I love to do it early in the morning before the kids are up. The energy is very calm.
Has meditation helped you as a parent?
Well, I like to do it in the mornings because the energy is very calm. It’s dark; I like to put a candle on. For me, it’s a ritual. The way I see it is that you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can put the oxygen mask on the people around you. If I nourish myself in the morning, when the house energy starts revving up, you have so much more to give. As a mother, you’re always giving. It’s important to give something to yourself, so you can give from a place of being full, instead of giving from a place of being depleted, which isn’t healthy for you or for the family. If I don’t do it in the morning, it’s a very different energy—the dogs are barking, the kids are saying they are hungry, it’s so chaotic, there’s this and that . . . when I wake up just 30 minutes before everyone else, it makes a world of a difference. It pays off.
You used the word “ritual.” What’s your process, exactly, when you meditate?
I get out of my bed because everybody is still sleeping. I go downstairs, light a candle, and I have warm water with lemon every morning to start my system. I have my warm water; I have my candle; I just sit on the couch, in silence, with my back straight, and close my eyes. Some people have a mantra, but because I’ve been practicing for so long, I like to focus on my third eye. I bring the energy right to my third eye. Sometimes I sit in silence and enjoy the silence, but usually I’m meditating on a certain question. And almost always—I can find the answer.