Monthly Must-Haves: Travel Essentials

I’ve basically been traveling for an entire month.

Between my Search Inside Yourself seminar, my daughter’s wedding, and my son’s wedding I’ve barely spent a moment out of a car or plane.

With that in mind, I thought that October’s Must-Haves should be dedicated to my travel essentials, for both business AND pleasure.

Actually, one of my biggest goals for Lotus Heart Mindfulness is to travel around the world teaching classes to those who want to learn, so this is a blog I've had particular experience in over the last month, as well as one I hope to continue to revise in the future.

I know I’ve often struggled with fitting everything into ONE carry-on suitcase, so if you need a few tips for that, check out this awesome YouTube video on how to pack a carry-on for 7 days worth of travel!


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Luggage Tag

This ADORABLE luggage tag is sure to help with finding your suitcase at the airport.

  • Travel tag measures 4.6 inches (11.6 cm) x 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) and is made of a durable, pink silicone,

  • easy to attach to any size luggage or backpack with metal hardware for extra security,

  • features a PVC window to keep your personal information secure while traveling,

  • bright and easy to locate for fast pickup at baggage claim,

  • ID holder features a fun disposable camera design by Maddy NyePortable Charger.

Portable Charger

How many times has your phone died in the airport or while on the plane?

When traveling it can be hard to know when you might have access to an outlet where you can charge your phone, this portable charger fits in my purse, and charges both my phone and iPad multiple times!

That’s KEY for traveling overseas, and being away from power for hours on end… I was especially happy to have it while in Portugal for my seminar and my daughter’s wedding.

  • Jackery launched the world's first Lithium Portable Power Station in 2015 and specializes in providing outdoor green power solutions for explorers,

  • built-in UL certified battery cell ensures your safety,

  • fully charges an iPhone 6/7/8 up to 4 times within 1.5 hours or an iPhone 6 Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus up to 3 times within 2 hours,

  • built-in lightning cable enables super fast charging for all iPhones, TWICE as Fast as iPhone original charger with original cable; free yourself from long and bothering charging time.


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Photo Album

Who doesn’t love to have mementos of great trips or family plans to look back on in moments of nostalgia? I know I do!

Scrapbooking and creating your own photo albums may have fallen out of style, but there are plenty of cool websites that will make professional looking photo albums for you!

My favorite is Mixbook, a website that specializes in printing travel photo albums, invitations, calendars, and plenty of other printed products.

Right now they’re running a sale for the fall season for 50% off of the entire store, plus when you sign up you get an additional discount on your first order!

I love having books from my travels around so I can look through them when I want a reminder of all the incredible places I’ve seen, as well as friends and family members being able to look through my adventures at any time.

(Plus, with the holiday season coming up, these scrapbooks could be a wonderful gift for someone you love this year!)

Some of MY Mixbooks from my previous travels.

Some of MY Mixbooks from my previous travels.


Whether I was driving one state over, or flying halfway around the world, these products are some of my absolute life savers on the road!

Looking for more tips on mindful travel, or trying to find out how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life? Check out some of the other services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: "Even the Word Obstacle is an Obstacle" by Alison Luterman

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Think back to the last time you lost your temper…

Was it because of something out of your control? For example (not that this has happened to me recently, at all), someone stopped directly in front of the thing you need at the store who stands there FOREVER!!

Regardless of how much patience we all possess, sometimes things that are absolutely inconsequential to others get throughly under our skin.

Today’s poem by Alison Luterman very thoughtfully and beautifully shifts the part adigm on how you view inconveniences.

I love using this poem for my MBSR classes because it allows my students to notice how they respond to outside stressors and change the way they view other’s actions.


Even the Word Obstacle is an Obstacle

Alison Luterman

Try to love everything that gets in your way:
the Chinese women in flowered bathing caps
murmuring together in Mandarin, doing leg exercises in your lane
while you execute thirty-six furious laps,
one for every item on your to-do list.
The heavy-bellied man who goes thrashing through the water
like a horse with a harpoon stuck in its side,
whose breathless tsunamis rock you from your course.
Teachers all. Learn to be small
and swim through obstacles like a minnow
without grudges or memory. Dart
toward your goal, sperm to egg. Thinking Obstacle
is another obstacle. Try to love the teenage girl
idly lounging against the ladder, showing off her new tattoo:
Cette vie est la mienne, This life is mine,
in thick blue-black letters on her ivory instep.
Be glad she’ll have that to look at all her life,
and keep going, keep going. Swim by an uncle
in the lane next to yours who is teaching his nephew
how to hold his breath underwater,
even though kids aren’t allowed at this hour. Someday,
years from now, this boy
who is kicking and flailing in the exact place
you want to touch and turn
will be a young man, at a wedding on a boat
raising his champagne glass in a toast
when a huge wave hits, washing everyone overboard.
He'll come up coughing and spitting like he is now,
but he'll come up like a cork,
alive. So your moment
of impatience must bow in service to a larger story,
because if something is in your way it is
going your way, the way
of all beings; towards darkness, towards light.


If you need a little extra help meditating, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

How Mindfulness Can Protect You as You Age

Wait… where did I leave my car keys again?

In recent years, there has been a surge of academic interest in the subject of mindful aging.

Study after study has proven many mental, physical, and emotional benefits of mindfulness for older adults.

This infographic from Be Independent Home Care offers an easy-to-understand, yet incredibly informative guide to mindful aging.


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What Is Mindful Aging?

Many western societies solely emphasize the negative aspects of aging.

The practice of mindful aging encourages people to accept rather than fear the realities of getting older.

Mindful aging aims to tackle pessimistic attitudes by reframing older age as a time of new opportunity rather than one of decrepitude and decline.

There is also a physical aspect, as a key part of mindful aging centers on engaging in regular activity and exercise.

A holistic approach to your health will provide better results in the long run, as you strengthen and deepen the bonds between bodily and mental systems.

 The Effects of Mindfulness on Older Adults

Numerous research studies have established clear links between mindfulness and improved wellbeing.

In fact, mindfulness has a diverse range of positive physical and emotional outcomes among those aged 65+ such as:

How to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Day

Here are three simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine:

  1. Try to meditate for at least 10 minutes a day (if you need some help learning how to meditate, check out the services I provide!)

  2. Change your language surrounding your aging, instead of saying, “I’m too old for this…” try “this might be harder for me, but I want to try anyway!”

    Language shapes the way we view the world and can be a powerful tool towards changing your point of view.

  3. Find a community of like-minded people.

    Everything is easier when you feel as though you are part of a group, especially growing older!

Find Out More About Mindful Aging

If you are interested in learning more about how mindfulness facilitates positive aging, then you should certainly take a closer look at this infographic and even do your own research into the topic!

This useful guide provides a good introduction to the subject and offers up a wealth of science-backed pointers on how to practice mindful aging.

If you need a little extra help meditating, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: “Men at Forty” by Donald Justice

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Death, taxes, and growing up are three of the inescapable things in life.

Becoming an adult and making your own way in the world can be full of both excitement and heartbreak… life post-forties can sometimes take a nostalgic turn.

Donald Justice has a particularly poignant poem about this phenomenon, “Men at Forty.”

Though he wrote it based on his experiences as a man, I think the poem applies to anyone. Closing the door to a part of your life you can’t go back to is a universal experience.

Time can move past us without us ever realizing, and suddenly looking back you may realize that so much has already happened that you’ve missed.

Looking at your past with curiosity, rather than judgement, can help you accept your life for what it is, through mistakes and triumphs, knowing that that everything you have experienced has gotten you to where you are now.


Men at Forty
Donald Justice

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.


Need a little help learning mindfulness meditation? Check out the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Monthly Music: Restorative Yoga

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I’ve mentioned it on my social media a few times now, but it’s FALL!!

I’m not sure there are any reasons to hate Fall, the weather starts to become crisp (or manageable if you live in Florida), the drinks suddenly become spiced, and everything smells like cinnamon and cloves.

It being a time of seasonal change can often mean a time of personal change as well, school may start to become more intense for your children, a new quarter is beginning in the business world, who knows?

With that in mind October’s monthly music is all about finding time to restore your energy or center your breathing and thoughts.

None of these songs have vocals, but they have very mellow beats and tend to stay within Major chords, so they feel restful and calming.

This playlist is perfect to throw on if you want to do a little restorative yoga, or like to do work or study with music on in the background.

Listening to this makes me want to curl up in front of a fireplace with a good book and a cozy sweater, but it’s a still a little too hot for that here!


Let me know what your favorite songs are, or what you did while listening to the playlist in the comments!

If you don’t know what restorative yoga is and want to learn check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!


Mindful Poetry: 3 Poems for Yoga

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Let’s go back to our roots on this page.

While there might not be a lot of poems which feature yoga specifically, there are quite a few good ones that are reminiscent of yoga and go through some poses.

John O’Donohue was an Irish poet who is known for bringing Celtic spirituality into the world of poetry.

The excerpt of his poem, “A Morning Offering,” I included can be said before beginning a yoga flow, or as a mantra in the morning to remind you to take on the day.

I included another American Poet Laureate in the blogs, this time Robert Hall, whose poem, “Within the Body You are Wearing,” reminds us of our lifelong mates… ourselves.

Who we are at our centers is who we will be with for the rest of our lives, it’s time to calmly face them and take them in.

Finally, Corinne Titus is a particularly exciting poet to include, as she is one of my students!

Her poem, “Morning Ballet” combines both her lifelong knowledge of ballet and classical dance with yoga, which she has just begun to learn.


A Morning Offering (Excerpts)

John O’Donohue

 

All that is eternal in me

Welcomes the wonder of this day.

 

May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers,

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To risk being disturbed and changed.

 

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.

 

May I live this day

 

Compassionate of heart,

Clear in work,

Gracious in awareness,

Courageous in thought,

Generous in love.


Within the Body You are Wearing

Robert Hall

Within the body you are wearing, now

inside the bones and beating in the heart,

lives the one you have been searching for so long.

But you must stop running away and shake hands,

the meeting doesn’t happen without your

presence . . . your participation.

The same one waiting for you there

is moving in the trees, glistening on the water,

growing in the grasses and lurking in the shadows you create.

You have nowhere to go.

The marriage happened long ago.

Behold your mate.


Morning Ballet

Corinne Titus

 

The sunlight pas de chat’s through my window on soft,

grey, clawed kitten paws to knead my eyelids.

I have always been a fitful sleeper.

 

Joints mumble their complaints to the morning,

their occasional curse word the loud pops

that disturb my mother. She thinks I will fall to pieces.

 

The dance is yoga, but the foundation holds.

My arms content themselves to find fifth position

over my head, then dive towards the floor, a downward dog. 

 

The balls of feet rise in an eleve, the shoulders strain, the body slants,

my hamstrings scream at me. Pressure pools

in my wrists and ankles, smaller versions of past breaks.


Let me know which of the poems spoke to you most! Are there any phrases that stood out to you, or things you didn’t understand?

Let me know in the comments!


If you’re interested in bringing a little bit of yoga or mindfulness meditation into your life, check out the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

5 Things NOT to Ask a Lesbian About Her Wedding

My daughter is getting married!

I’m so excited and proud for her, after all, doesn’t every parent want their children to find someone who treats them like the amazing people they are?

However, as she is lesbian and is getting married to another woman, people feel they are entitled to ask her some… intrusive questions about the big day.

Maybe I can do my part as Mom to the Bride-to-Be, and take a little break from the mindfulness-based posts, in answering some questions that you may have and feel too embarrassed to ask.

I also wanted to throw in that my son is getting married this month and I am so proud and excited for him as well! (This way no one can accuse me of favoritism later.)

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1. So… who’s going to be wearing a dress?

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A friend of ours, in a very well intentioned way, asked this of my daughter the other day when she was visiting home.

While I know he meant well, I could see her getting a little bit peeved that she was being asked this.

Does it even matter? How my daughter and her fiance choose to dress themselves for what will be one of their most memorable days together isn’t really what’s important.

Maybe they’ll both wear a dress, maybe they’ll both wear a suit, maybe they’ll have their wedding on a nude beach and wear nothing at all.

In the end what matters is that they’ll both feel absolutely stunning for the big day, and that ha less to do with the clothes and more to do with the love and support of the people around them.

2. Which one of you is THE bride?

Say it with me… both. They’re both the brides. They are both women, they identify as women, so they are both… brides, yes!

Regardless of if one of them may present more masculine traits (at least in terms of social norms) and the other more feminine that doesn’t make either one of them any less or more of a woman.

“Here comes the brides, da dum da dum…”

3. What are your families doing for the wedding?

This could be a particularly hard question for anyone in the LGBTQA+ community to answer.

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You never know what their home life was like growing up. Some members of the LGBT community have had to go through truly horrible situations in order to become comfortable and celebrate all of the parts of themselves.

I’m so thankful that my daughter and I have a loving and supportive relationship and that she trusted me enough to be a part of her special day, but not everyone is so lucky.

Again, assess your relationship with this person.

Are you at a point where you could ask a very personal question and get an honest answer?

If not, don’t ask.

In addition, you may be able to figure out the answer to this question via context clues anyway, if they aren’t really talking about their family that much, or avoid the topic, it’s probably painful.

You wouldn’t want anyone else poking around in your personal family business, so why poke around in someone else’s?

As a happier side note, here’s a wedding planning site specifically geared toward lesbian/gay weddings with some beautiful photo albums and ideas for very classy and beautiful events.


In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.
— Mignon McLaughlin

4. What about your wedding night…?

Essentially, the answer to this question is… NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

You wouldn’t ask a straight couple what they were doing for their wedding night unless you were ex-treme-ly close with the couple, so why would you ask a lesbian couple?

The rule of thumb here is, are you close enough to the couple that asking about their sex life wouldn’t be deemed rude? If the answer is AT ALL in doubt, just don’t ask.

If you want to read a ridiculous list of the things that other lesbians get asked all the time, here’s a link to a blog that lists 30 common and ridiculous questions that lesbians get asked. (Spoiler alert, most of them are about sex.)

5. What about children?

Again, not that it’s your business, but that’s up to the discretion of the couple.

Some couples want to have children right after they get married, some want to wait, some may not want children at all.

In the past, the next, logical step after getting married was to try to start a family, but as the years have gone by the age at which people get married and the age at which people become first-time parents has inched ever higher.

While the “traditional” route may not be what lesbian couples use to have a child there are plenty of options ranging from adoption to IVF, and even new science coming out that will allow two eggs cells to be merged to create a zygote.

If you really want to explore what it takes, here’s a site that walks with lesbian couples step-by-step to discover what paths to motherhood would be the best for them.


All in all it’s probably not your business.

While people who are different than you may be an object of curiosity, it’s not always the polite thing to do to ask a bunch of questions that could be potentially annoying or painful for someone to answer.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on the LGBTQ community, but I’ve done my research in order to better support my daughter.

We live in a time where you can find out, in real time, what’s going on on the other side of the world. If you’re really interested, most things you want answered can be found online. One example being, “what does the Q stand for in LGBTQ?” Answer: queer/questioning!

Be human, enjoy that two people are in love and don’t worry about the details.


Interested in learning about mindful meditation? Check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Listening Politically: 3 Tips to Understanding

We’ve all been there…

Lotus Heart Mindfulness Meditation - Artist, Eiko Ojala

That horrible moment when you realize you’ve gotten yourself into a political conversation with someone you KNOW has different views than you.

It’s not just that, sometimes it’s hard to even turn on the news to try and educate yourself on current events. Who in their right mind wants to read about another school shooting or similarly horrible event?

From a University of Canberra study, if you’re a Democrat in the U.S. you’re likely to avoid watching the news because you find it negatively affects your mood, while those who are Republicans may believe the news to be unreliable.

In a survey published by Axiom, they found that 89% of Republicans believed Trump to be a more reliable informational source than CNN, while 91% of Democrats felt the opposite. This clear divide on who people believe and trust is obviously going to make for tense political discussions in the future where people believe they are getting reliable information from only a few sources without double checking the facts.

Here are some tips to avoid tuning out the opposing side, and maybe learning something in the meantime.


What is empathetic listening?

Empathetic listening can help make each person in the conversation feel heard and understood, while allowing good points to be brought up and examined in a thorough way.

Empathetic listening differs from regular listening because the emotional stakes are higher, which, when talking about politics can be the case, especially when it comes to things like human rights, or financial situations.

This style of listening challenges the conversational partners:

  • to not judge what the other person it thinking or feeling,

  • to accept whatever emotional response the person has as valid,

  • and to allow the emotions to run their course without rushing them or suppressing them.

Actually, it’s pretty much the tenets of mindfulness used to better hear another person and to diffuse a potentially strong emotional response.

So, the next time you are having a political conversation with someone and they start to get heated or upset, verbally acknowledge that their emotions are understandable and valid.

Remind them that human emotion is important and not something to suppress.


Empathetic Listening Tips!

Often political conversations can feel like a fight rather than a discussion, Dr. Jennifer Kunst points to some reasons why.

When we discuss things with someone, especially over something as central to opinions as politics, we tend to try to guard ourselves from feeling inferior or feeling wrong by “splitting,” i.e. the practice of placing ourselves into an “us v. them” mindset.

This can be particularly detrimental to the progress of the conversation since you begin to think of yourself as “right” and the other person as “wrong,” which brings any productive conversation to a screeching halt.

Everyone wants to be right, even to the detriment of a conversation, yet very few people have done the extensive research required to KNOW what they are saying is true and verifiable.

In fact, in the same poll by Axiom, 33% of Republicans reported that they only got their information from FOX News, and it’s not just Republicans who don’t fact check!

So, what can you do to better converse about tricky topics?

  1. If a combative conversation starts and emotions begin to rise, acknowledge that person’s right to feel how they feel and don’t judge them for it.

  2. Let your conversational partner finish their thought. Regardless of how badly you want to interrupt or correct, doing so creates a tone of disrespect. This can turn your rational discussion into a fight without a thought.

  3. Fact check your points and take strides to check your biases. Don’t get your information from just one source, double or triple check from sources that are reliable and nonpartisan.


Treating yourself with empathy and learning the tenets of mindfulness could be the beginning of understanding others better. Check out the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: "Discontinuous Poems" by Fernando Pessoa

Like I’ve said, I’M IN PORTUGAL!!

It’s absolutely beautiful here and I’m loving it, so in honor of that, I found a rather famous Portuguese poet to unveil as this weeks mindful poet.

Fernando Pessoa lived between 1888 and 1935 and was one of the most significant literary figures of his time.

While I was reading through his poems, “Discontinuous Poems” stuck out to me because of the interesting parallels the language has to the principles of mindful meditation.

Pay close attention and you might see them too!


Discontinuous Poems

The frightful reality of things

Is my everyday discovery.

Each thing is what it is.

How can I explain to anyone how much

I rejoice over this, and find it enough?

 

To be whole, it is enough to exist.

 

I have written quite a number of poems

And may write many more, of course.

Each poem of mine explains it,

Though all my poems are different,

Because each thing that exists is always proclaiming it.

 

Sometimes I busy myself with watching a stone,

I don't begin thinking whether it feels.

I don't force myself to call it my sister,

 

But I enjoy it because of its being a stone,

I enjoy it because it feels nothing,

I enjoy it because it is not at all related to me.

 

At times I also hear the wind blow by

And find that merely to hear the wind blow makes

it worth having been born.

 

I don't know what others will think who read this;

But I find it must be good because I think it

without effort,

And without the idea of others hearing me think,

Because I think it without thoughts,

Because I say it as my words say it.

 

Once they called me a materialist poet

And I admired myself because I never thought

That I might be called by any name at all.

I am not even a poet: I see.

If what I write has any value, it is not I who am

valuable.

The value is there, in my verses.

All this has nothing whatever to do with any will

of mine.


Do you want help learning how it is enough just to exist? Check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

How to Promote Peace Within Yourself

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September 21st, was a day dedicated to peace.

Peace of all sorts, from ceasefires in war torn areas of the world to making nice with that neighbor whose plants always seem to creep over into your yard.

Peace is something that the world could use a lot more of, at least in my opinion. Not just for war torn countries or impoverished places, but inner peace as well.

Often we can get so caught up in looking at the big picture that we forget we’re a part of it, especially in an age where information about things happening on the other side of the globe can get to your computer in 0.0001 seconds.

Lets extend the message behind the International Day of Peace for not just one day, but for the whole year.

Here are some simple ways you can promote inner peace in your daily life!

If you need a little peace inspo here’s a link the the 48-hr Peace Cast, a video montage designed to promote peace and growth!


How do I promote peace within myself?

Well, there are several ways to go about this, lifehack.org cautions its readers to remember not to accept an invitation to every fight or piece of chaos that could enter their lives.

You control what enters and exits your life at the end of the day.

Another helpful tip is to focus on your breathing for 5 minutes everyday. (Hint, hint this is the most basic form of mindfulness meditation!)

Focusing on your breathing allows you to take stock, number one, of the physical things that are happening within your body (heart rate, breathing, how your body feels, what is sore, etc…) and within your mind.

Often you’ll find that it is hard to simply focus on your breath without thinking of anything else, and that’s okay!

The key with mindfulness meditation is that you don’t hastily try to redirect your thoughts, allow yourself to gently return to focusing on your breathing and take note of what distracted you.


Got Peace?

We all live busy and stressful lives, very few things are simple, which, that’s just the nature of life.

However, there are certain things and environments that can inspire peace and tranquility within all of us, I felt a true sense of calm and well-being come over me when I flipped through this album of photos from World Peace Day!

I have been experiencing some interesting symptoms since beginning my search for inner peace, which I think this blog post pretty much nails:

1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

3. A loss of interest in judging self.

4. A loss of interest in judging others.

5. A loss of interest in conflict.

6. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

7. A loss of ability to worry (this is a very serious symptom).

8. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

9. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

10. Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.

11. Increasing susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

12. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.

Putting aside a little bit of time per day to foster a sense of inner peace has some pretty amazing effects, not just for yourself, but for the people in your life who you care about.

So, let’s celebrate the International Day of Peace, not just for a day, but for the whole year.


Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.
— Wayne W. Dyer

For more inner peace quotes to inspire you, here’s a blog with quite a few gems!

If you want to start your journey towards inner peace and tranquility within yourself check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!


Monthly Must-Haves: Incense and the Basics

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We live in a very wealth-driven society in which things=success.

While that can ultimately become a VERY unhealthy drive, having high quality goods isn’t always a bad thing.

I’m always on the lookout for products that support makers or artists, are eco conscious, or are just really well-made for myself, for my husband… even for the dogs!!

I’ve found so many things in fact that I’ve decided to introduce a new monthly segment of my blogMONTHLY MUST-HAVES!!!

That’s not to say every product in here is something you need to buy in order to practice mindful meditation, yoga, or anything really, but they’ve been particularly helpful for me.

Since this is my first month doing this I’ll start with the basics, with a fun item included, so you can find out what I use for my yoga and meditation essentials.


What’s in my yoga bag?

  • Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

    • Pros

      • I absolutely LOVE my Manduka PRO Yoga Mat, I’ve had it for ten years but you would never know it!

      • It’s durable, it’s easy to clean (you don’t have to soak or scrub it), it comes in a lot of fun colors and patterns, and best of all, it’s got the best cushion and support I’ve ever seen.

      • It provides extra cushion for my knees, without being too squishy (which I find tough for both balance, and my wrists!).

      • Plus, the company supports using sustainable materials, so if you’re worried about your impact on the environment this is the mat for you!

    • Cons

      • It is a little pricey, but you’ll never have to replace the mat. If you’re already well into your yoga practice and don’t have one of these, you’re missing out. If you’re starting your yoga journey and know you’ll stick with it, this would be a great investment!

      • I’ve found the Pro mat is a little bulky, so I don’t travel with mine, but it makes for a luxurious home mat. I look forward to practicing on mine all day!

  • Swell Stainless Steel Water Bottle

    • Pros

      • Things that should be cold stay cold, and things that should be hot stay hot. This was the biggest thing for me!

      • 25 oz is a great size for my more strenuous sessions (and if you’re so inclined, fits a whole bottle of wine wink, wink)!

      • Just like the Munduka Mat, these bottles come in all sorts of colors, you could even get one to match, plus you can reduce the waste of a plastic water bottle.

    • Cons

      • Dropping one of these water bottles has blown out my eardrums more than once. If you’re prone to moments of klutziness save yourself the earache on this one.


!!Current Obsession!!

Incense holders certainly aren’t some you have to have in order to practice yoga or mindful meditation, but I’ve found some scents can really put me into a more peaceful frame of mind.

Putting incense and art together serves both a functional and fun part of me, and when I saw these backflow incense holders I fell in love!

If you don’t know what a backflow incense holder is or how it works, here’s a video!

I found this one on Etsy for $75, but there are plenty of options if you don’t like the style of this one. Just look up backflow incense holders on Google!


If you want to learn about the less material sides of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation check out some of the other services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: Florida and Nature

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I didn’t think I would… but I love Florida!!!!

The beaches, the people. the businesses, the nature… THE BEACHES!! I think Florida has some of the prettiest natural areas in the U.S., maybe even the world.

That being said, I found some really wonderful poems this week that explore a few poet’s reactions to Florida environments, focusing on what emotions were triggered by the natural landscape.


Sandpiper

The roaring alongside he takes for granted,

and that every so often the world is bound to shake.

He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,

in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat, On his left, a sheet

of interrupting water comes and goes

and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.

He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

—Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them,

where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains

rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,

he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is

minute and vast and clear. The tide

is higher or lower. He couldn't tell you which.

His beak is focused; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.

Poor bird, he is obsessed!

The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray,

mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

-Elizabeth Bishop


Memory of a Porch

Miami, 1942

What I remember

Is how the wind chime

Commenced to stir

As she spoke of her childhood,

As though the simple

Death of a pet cat,

Buried with flowers,

Had brought to the porch

A rumor of storms

Dying out over

Some dark Atlantic.

At least I heard

The thing begin—

A thin, skeletal music—

And in the deep silence

Below all memory

The sighing of ferns

Half asleep in their boxes.

-Donald Justice


Fabliau of Florida

Barque of phosphor

On the palmy beach,

Move outward into heaven,

Into the alabasters

And night blues.

Foam and cloud are one.

Sultry moon-monsters

Are dissolving.

Fill your black hull

With white moonlight.

There will never be an end

To this droning of the surf.

-Wallace Stevens


If you’re interested in learning more about the practice of mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, check out the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Is a Home Yoga Studio Right for You?

Picture this: You promised you would go to the gym after work, then once you get home, you’re too tired to go.

It takes some serious effort to change, drive to the gym, workout when you’re already tired, and then have to drive back home before you can rest?

If you’re a hardened gym rat, it might come easy to you, the rest of us skip out on that promised workout!

Home yoga classes can combine the comfort of practicing in your own home with the need to remain active and healthy after work.

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In a global survey done by DOYOUYOGA in 2016, they found that 46% of people preferred to practice at home.

Why?

Why not? It’s convenient, you’re in the comfort of your home with no fear of someone judging you, and you’re in control of what you do or don’t do!

Yoga from home is great for people who already have a basis in the practice and know what they are doing, but how do beginners get started at home?

There are plenty of online classes that teach beginner poses, flows, and anything else a quick Google search could pull up. These online classes are great for those who are starting out and who feel awkward with a whole class of people who have been practicing for years.

The problem comes when you consider quality control.

Most studios check the yoga instructor credentials of their teachers, but anyone can upload a video online.

Other issues involved with trying to practice yoga on your own at home are being inconsistent with your practice, not knowing when you’re doing something that could lead to injury, and having too many distractions outside of an environment that is set up for yoga.


There is a sort of happy medium between having to get up and go to a class, versus having the comfort of yoga within your home without the proper assistance.

Have the class come to you!

Find a teacher within your area who travels and would be able to come to your home for a private class, or a small group class with a few of your friends (shameless self promotion…like ME!!). Ask what kind of training they have had, and if they are a registered yoga teacher! You can also ask what style of yoga they teach, and can find someone who has a style that aligns with your needs.

Though it’s not free like YouTube, with a home practice, you’re getting personal attention from someone who can tailor the classes to your needs.

With a small group yoga class, or a private yoga class, the pace and strenuousness of your practice is in your hands, and with the trained eye of someone who knows how to guide you.


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I offer private, small group, and business yoga classes for those who have a drive to learn yoga, but don’t necessarily want to go to a studio.

From my home studio in Tampa Bay, I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR. I’m also happy to travel anywhere within the Tampa Bay Area to bring a yoga class to your home.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!



What is Trauma-Informed Yoga?

YOGA FOR…?

I can sometimes get annoyed by "Yoga for [insert ailment here]" classes and blogs because essentially trauma yoga is just yoga!

There aren't specific poses for someone going through a divorce or who's child is sick and the same is true of trauma victims.

However, with trauma-informed yoga, what is important is that the survivor feels like they are in charge when they face the traumas of their pasts.

The American Psychology Association defines trauma as, “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.

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TRAUMA CYCLES

In the wild, when an animal undergoes trauma, i.e. when a lioness chases a gazelle, if the animal escapes the predator it will tremble for a while to literally shake off the fear and get out of the fight/flight/freeze response cycle.

As humans with higher brain function, we don’t do this.

We become trapped in our amygdala, the part of the brain that controls the fight/flight/freeze response and relive it over and over.

What is so wonderful about yoga and meditation (especially mindfulness meditation) is that it takes the brain out of that f/f/f response of the past and into the present moment as you focus on your breath and feeling the muscles in your body move.

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WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT TRAUMA-INFORMED YOGA?

With trauma-informed yoga, the most important thing to keep in mind, is to do what feels right for YOU in YOUR body.

Teachers who have training in trauma-informed yoga will know that some poses may make survivors of trauma feel more vulnerable, (such as downward dog for those who have been victims of sexual trauma or domestic abuse), or that survivors of trauma may have a harder time focusing on the breath while they are meditating.

With trauma-informed yoga the person doing the yoga is the one in control.

They should feel empowered by the use of their body and the freedom of their choices. Some people need to have an active, strong practice, and some need a mellow, restorative practice.

It’s important for the survivor to know that their needs come first, and whatever they need to do they have the freedom to do in a yoga studio.


Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.
— Fred Rogers

RESOURCES

You never know what someone may or may not be going through just by looking at them.

If you or someone you know Is a survivor of trauma, consider bringing trauma-informed yoga into the management of your emotions.

I offer private yoga and meditation classes for those who need the extra privacy and attention as well as group yoga and meditation classes where I am happy to make sure everyone moves at the pace they need and can manage.

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: "The Names" by Billy Collins

Today’s Mindful Poetry is about one of the most tragic days in American history. It is Billy Collin’s “The Names” based on the events that happened on September 11th, 2001.

Collins was the American Poet Laureate at the time, so he presented his poem to the world on TV a little less than a year following the plane crashes. Here is the link to the reading.

On top of being the Poet Laureate at the time of the fall of the Twin Towers, he was also a New Yorker himself, having been born and raised there.

The poem is filled with haunting images and does not shy away from the grief he felt during the tragedy, so if you are still affected by the events of 9/11 this may not be the poem for you.

Please read at your own discretion.

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The Names

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds -
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.


If you need a little extra help meditating, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Listening and How it Could Save a Life

Suicide is one of those things that we avoid talking about in polite society.

For plenty of reasons: it’s depressing to talk about, it could potentially trigger someone, and if we’re being honest unless you or someone you know has been directly affected by suicide you probably don’t think about it too much.


However, coming up on the 10th (that’s Tuesday!) is World Suicide Prevention Day, i.e. a day where we talk about this problem in an empathetic and sincere way.

Suicide is the 10th most common cause of death in the United States.

On average there are 129 suicides per day.

Every 40 seconds, someone ends their life.

Those statistics ARE sobering, and I’m not here trying to make you sad… I’m here to talk about it. Mental health has far too many stigmas, most related to problems in mental health being invisible unless severe.

Suicide is one of those severe cases.

I can’t tell you what signs to look for because they vary from person to person, but the best thing you can do for the people closest to you, even if you don’t know if they are struggling, is listen. Not just listen where you pay attention to every third sentence and “uh-huh” when they pause for longer than 5 seconds, but really listen, MINDFULLY listen.

You might just save a life.

SO, WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

Mindful listening is taking the tenants of mindfulness in general and applying them to listening.

You bring your sole focus to the person speaking to you, allow what they say to be uninterrupted for as long as they need, and to not make judgements based one what they’ve told you.

After all, it’s not your job to judge what another person has gone through, just to listen when they feel they need to say something.

How to Practice Mindful Listening: HEAR

  1. HALT — Halt whatever you are doing and offer your full attention.

  2. ENJOY — Enjoy a breath as you choose to receive whatever is being communicated to you—wanted or unwanted.

  3. ASK — Ask yourself if you really know what they mean and if you don’t, ask for clarification. Instead of making assumptions, bring openness and curiosity to the interaction. You might be surprised at what you discover.

  4. REFLECT — Reflect back to them what you heard. This tells them that you were really listening.


Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.
— David Augsburger

Mindful listening is a great tool, not just for friends and family, but also within your work space.

Mindful listening deepens your empathy, create better networks, improves your communication when you do talk, as well as many other things.

Mindful listening could help save a life, and on Tuesday the International Association for Suicide Prevention is trying to do more good and to save more lives.

If you are anyone you know is a cyclist or likes to bike they will be holding a #CycleAroundTheGlobe challenge! Essentially, anyone can join and add their miles to the collective tally. Last year the participants cycled a whooping 15.8x around the globe!

You can click here to register for the month-long event, and don’t forget to tag your plans #cyclearoundtheglobe!


If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

If you need a more personal start to your mindfulness journey, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

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Mindful Poetry: "Allowables" by Nikki Giovanni

Today’s poem has a basis in empathy, not just for our fellow humans, but for all kinds of life.

Being mindful of every creature’s part of the life cycle is part of our responsibility as a sentient beings.

Next time you pick up the book to smash the spider or moth that has found its way into your home, perhaps remember this poem… and find another way,


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I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don’t think
I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened


If you need a little extra help meditating, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!


When you reflect on the poem what emotions does it trigger?

Monthly Music: Yoga Mix

ASK ANY OF MY FRIENDS… THEY’LL TELL YOU I LOVE MUSIC!!

After all, who doesn’t? So I decided I would share with you a monthly playlist that will explore just what I’m listening to!

I DON’T listen to music while I practice meditation, mostly because I’ve found it too distracting, but, I do sometimes like to listen to music while I’m doing yoga.

With that in mind, this month’s music is a playlist for yoga specifically. Most of the tunes are without lyrics (again, distracting) but the steady bass and funky rhythms are sure to help with your breath and get you into the flow!



If you need a little help finding your yoga flow, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness and yoga inspiration!

Mindfulness Meditation: The Cold, Hard Truth

EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW—

What are the cold, hard truths of mindfulness meditation?

While there are many psychological and physiological benefits to meditation (and I could truly talk about them for hours) the saying is a picture is worth a thousand words.

So rather than tell you, I’ll show you all the good meditation could do.


First, let’s bust a few meditation myths:

  1. You don’t have to practice Buddhism or Hinduism in order to meditate mindfully, anyone can do it! However, the roots of the practice are from those religions, so it’s good to learn about them and expand your knowledge.

  2. You don’t have to sit in lotus position, or chant for hours in order to meditate. In fact, if that’s an uncomfortable position for you it could even be detrimental to your mindfulness.

  3. You don’t have to keep an empty mind. With mindfulness meditation, Instead of pushing thoughts away,, you can simply notice when thoughts arise. Sometimes those thoughts include planning, or remembering, or worrying. Having LOTS of thoughts doesn’t mean you are “bad” at meditating, it’s just what is happening at the moment!


BENEFITS

If we take a look at the physiological and psychological benefits of mindfulness meditation we’ll find they are separated out into a few categories:

  • The Emotions:

    • The amygdala (the part of your brain that processes emotions) calms down.

    • Mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and increase serotonin (which means a better, more stable mood).

  • The Brain:

    • The Reticular formation, Frontal lobe, Thalamus, and Parietal lobe all showed reduced activity (these are the centers that acquire sensory data and decide how to handle it, or how to stress about it.)

  • The Heart:

    • As this article from Harvard Medical says, “what’s good for the mind is what’s good for the heart.”

What about everything else?

Basically, anything that is caused by stress (acne, ulcers, anxiety, depression, muscle pain, joint pain, etc.) can be helped by including mindfulness meditation into your day.


If you need a little extra help meditating, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide! From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR. If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!


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How to Improve Posture with Yoga and Meditation

HOW IS YOUR POSTURE RIGHT NOW?


Stacy DiGregorio sitting on a bolster to meditate— Tampa Bay, FL.

People often think that in order to sit and meditate you have TO have a perfect posture and not move a muscle.

Proper posture isn't stiff, and it shouldn't hurt (especially if you have something under your tailbone).

I like to say your posture should be dignified, like when you used to balance books on your head as a kid and pretend to be royalty.

Really, proper posture can be anything.

You don’t have to sit in lotus position to meditate. You can sit in a chair, lay on the floor, lean against a wall and stand… anything as long as you are promoting alertness and focusing on what’s going on within your head, not without.


Stacy DiGregorio engaging her core in chaturanga— Tampa Bay, FL.

WHAT IS THE KEY TO GOOD POSTURE?

One of the most important parts of good posture for meditation, yoga, even just daily life is your abdominals (I mean, there’s a reason they’re called the CORE).

Your abs help control your breathing, elongate your spine, stabilize your hips, and protect your internal organs. They’re a pretty big deal!

If you need help finding your abs, just cough. You should feel a huge slab of muscle under your ribs and above your hips tense. Congrats, you found your abs!

While engaging your core is important for posture, you don’t have to tense it like you’re in chaturanga, simply use your core to take deep, even breaths while meditating.

Engaging your core like this throughout your day (especially if you sit in an office all day) will help remind you to lengthen your spine and can ease some back and hip problems from sitting all day.


This is a great stretch for your lower back… also, isn’t the wood floor in my studio gorgeous?

This is a great stretch for your lower back… also, isn’t the wood floor in my studio gorgeous?

HOW CAN YOGA HELP ME?

One of the most common posture problems in the world today is the “computer hunch,” i.e. the hunch between the shoulder blades caused by typing away at a keyboard all day in a tiny cubicle.

Here’s your daily reminder that if you notice your shoulders starting to hunch, clasp your hands behind your back and allow your chest to open.

The stretch will loosen the muscles of the chest and engage the back in order to correct your posture as well as relieve tension.

Another exercise to work the shoulders and correct “computer hunch” is downward dog, a pose I teach in my yoga classes. I offer one-on-one’s and group sessions, as well as large group classes that are perfect for businesses looking to find a healthy, stress relieving group activity for their employees.


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For meditation, posture is an important part of the process.

When you sit, lay, or stand with proper posture you allow more air into your body, while working groups of muscles you wouldn’t necessarily notice otherwise.

The next time you meditate pay attention to how far back your shoulders are placed and where your breathing is coming from, then use that throughout your day. I guarantee you you’ll notice a difference.

If you need a little extra help meditating, or aren’t sure where to start, check out some of the services I provide! From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR. If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!