Best Apps to Promote Mindfulness for iPhone

HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU YOU WISHED FOR A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?


Mindfulness in a modern world can be hard, especially with all the distractions of social media, healthy trends that come and go, and juggling time commitments.

Luckily there are a ton of really awesome apps that (while not centered around mindfulness) can help get you into better, healthier routines, which, in turn, will create a better space to be mindful in.


Sleep Cycle tracks the quality of your sleep and wakes you up when you’re out of a REM cycle.

Sleep Cycle tracks the quality of your sleep and wakes you up when you’re out of a REM cycle.

SLEEP CYCLE

Sleep is one of the most important factors in day-to-day health, but it’s one of the most common problems in adulthood. According to a study done by the CDC in 2016, ONE THIRD of adults don’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep.

One. Third.

Sleep Cycle is an app designed to help you track your sleeping habits and wake up easier (actually this is my favorite feature of the app).

What’s so cool about it is, instead of a regular alarm clock that wakes you up at an exact time, with Sleep Cycle the process is intuitive. You set it for a range of time (usually 30 mins) and the app tracks when you are sleeping the lightest and wakes you up then. This means you’ll wake up easier and, as an added bonus, you’ll be less groggy.

The premium version comes with all sorts of great extras, like sleep aids and a snore tracker, but if you don’t want to spend $30 a year on it, the free version is still amazing.


Fabulous helps you create and stick to healthy habits!

Fabulous helps you create and stick to healthy habits!

FABULOUS

So, what comes first, a good sleep schedule, or a good morning ritual? In most people’s cases you probably need to work on both. Morning people are a different breed, I swear.

Don’t just get up, be FABULOUS! Joking aside, Fabulous is an app that teaches you how to form good habits for highly effective people. Bad habits are easy to pick up and hard to break, but with this app you’re one step closer to your goals.

I absolutely LOVE it. The “journeys” are full of wonderful tips and tricks towards building better habits, plus the app includes small pep talks scattered throughout to help with motivation.


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
— Will Durant

I’d spend all blog singing the praises of this app if I could, but I need to leave room for the other ones! Here’s a link to another blog specifically about Fabulous. One more thing, the app includes several meditations you can use, so if you’d like to add a little mindfulness to your routine this makes it just that much easier!


Would you like an hour of your day back? Moments could be the key.

Would you like an hour of your day back? Moments could be the key.

MOMENT

Now that I’ve spent this whole post going on and on about apps, I’d like to bring your attention to something called nomophobia: the fear of being without your phone.

More commonly it is referred to as “smartphone addiction” and it can have long term negative effects on your health, social life, and productivity.

Enter Moment, an app that tracks your phone usage and develops strategies to help reduce that usage.

I’ve found it to be particularly helpful when I need to focus for an extended period of time, plus I’ve noticed a change in my sleeping habits when I avoid using my phone before bed.


Insight Timer for meditation.

Insight Timer for meditation.

MINDFUL iOS

I went over some apps that don’t focus on mindfulness, but if you’re interested…

I LOVE Insight Timer for meditations. It’s fantastic!! And free! The meditations are mood based, so you can always find your perfect flow.

Day One for journaling.

Day One for journaling.

Also, I’ve just started journaling after meditations using Day One.

I write whatever comes out of my brain, without editing it for about 5 minutes. If I can’t think of what to say and still have more time left, I write, “I have no idea what to say...” or something like that, until I do have a thought.

Having a holistic approach to health will help your mindfulness, and your mindfulness will improve your holistic health.


Have you used any of these apps before?

If you have let me know in the comments, if not, leave a comment about which one is the most interesting to you!


If you have a hard time using apps, or need a little more structure in your mindfulness practices, 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!

50 Quotes for Mindfulness

MINDFULNESS IS HARD… FULL STOP.

I know some days I struggle to remember to breathe, pay attention to my thoughts, and learn from that what I will.

It’s also VERY rewarding.

Being aware that the present is the most important moment and constantly bringing myself back to it has created a better awareness within myself and greater emotional intelligence.

My relationships with others have become more self-aware.


“BUT… HOW DO I START?”

I didn’t get where I am today without a lot of help, guidance, and teaching.

Included in this blog post are 50 wonderful quotes for mindfulness which can guide your journey. Some are from inspirational meditation leaders like John Kabat-Zinn or Thich Nhat Hanh. Some are quotes from famous authors or visionaries from years past.

They all touch upon an aspect of mindfulness or bring focus to the present.


My advice? Go through the list slowly and see what speaks to you.


1. “Mindful and creative, a child who has neither a past, nor examples to follow, nor value judgments, simply lives, speaks and plays in freedom.” «—» Arnaud Desjardins

2. “We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.” «—» Jack Kornfield

3. “Envy and jealousy stem from the fundamental inability to rejoice at someone else’s happiness or success.” «—» Matthieu Ricard

4. “By breaking down our sense of self-importance, all we lose is a parasite that has long infected our minds. What we gain in return is freedom, openness of mind, spontaneity, simplicity, altruism: all qualities inherent in happiness.” «—» Matthieu Ricard

5. “Our lives are lived in intense and anxious struggle, in a swirl of speed and aggression, in competing, grasping, possessing and achieving, forever burdening ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations.” «—» Sogyal Rinpoche

Jack Kornfield Quote Mindfulness Meditation.gif

6. “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” «—» Jack Kornfield

7. “To diminish the suffering of pain, we need to make a crucial distinction between the pain of pain, and the pain we create by our thoughts about the pain. Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness and helplessness are all mental and emotional responses that can intensify pain.” «—» Howard Cutler

8. “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.” «—» Pema Chodron

9. “Why, if we are as pragmatic as we claim, don’t we begin to ask ourselves seriously: Where does our real future lie?” «—» Sogyal Rinpoche

10. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” «—» Dalai Lama

11. “If one were truly aware of the value of human life, to waste it blithely on distractions and the pursuit of vulgar ambitions would be the height of confusion.” «—» Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

12. “Knowledge does not mean mastering a great quantity of different information, but understanding the nature of mind. This knowledge can penetrate each one of our thoughts and illuminate each one of our perceptions.” «—» Matthieu Ricard

13. “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” «—» Thich Nhat Hanh

14. “The basic root of happiness lies in our minds; outer circumstances are nothing more than adverse or favorable.” «—» Matthieu Ricard

15. “The mind in its natural state can be compared to the sky, covered by layers of cloud which hide its true nature.” «—» Kalu Rinpoche

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16. “Observe the space between your thoughts, then observe the observer.” «—» Hamilton Boudreaux

17. “The practice of mindfulness begins in the small, remote cave of your unconscious mind and blossoms with the sunlight of your conscious life, reaching far beyond the people and places you can see.” «—» Earon Davis

18. “Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the small uncaring ways.” «—» Stephen Vincent Benet

19. “As long as we have practiced neither concentration nor mindfulness, the ego takes itself for granted and remains its usual normal size, as big as the people around one will allow.” «—» Ayya Khema

20. “Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.” «—» Pema Chodron

21. “If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” «—» Rabbi Harold Kushner

22. “There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it’s because you’re thinking or focusing on what you don’t have…. But, right now you have everything you need to be in bliss.” «—» Anthony de Mello

23. “Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts. No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.” «—» Buddha

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24. “We are awakened to the profound realization that the true path to liberation is to let go of everything.” «—» Jack Kornfield

25. “I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred. I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant.” «—» Ralph Waldo Emerson

26. “The way to live in the present is to remember that ‘This too shall pass.’ When you experience joy, remembering that ‘This too shall pass’ helps you savor the here and now. When you experience pain and sorrow, remembering that ‘This too shall pass’ reminds you that grief, like joy, is only temporary.” «—» Joey Green

27. “Always hold fast to the present. Every situation, indeed every moment, is of infinite value, for it is the representative of a whole eternity.” «—» Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

28. “Do every act of your life as though it were the last act of your life.” «—» Marcus Aurelius

29. “Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” «—» Robin S. Sharma

30. “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” «—» Allan Lokos

31. “Respond; don’t react. Listen; don’t talk. Think; don’t assume.” «—» Raji Lukkoor

32. “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” «—» Victoria Moran

33. “Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” «—» James Baraz

34. “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” «—» Sharon Salzberg

Pema Chodron Mindfulness Meditation Quote Healing.gif

35. “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest as if it was the only one we had.” «—» Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

36. “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” ~Seneca

37. “Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.” «—» Rumi

38. “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” «—» Amit Ray

39. “In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go” «—» Jack Kornfield

40. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” «—» Dalai Lama

41. “Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different than they are.” «—» Allan Lokos

42. “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” «—» Pema Chodron

43. “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” «—» William Blake

44. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” «—» Thich Nhat Hanh

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45. “Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.” «—» Sylvia Boorstein

46. “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” «—» Jon Kabat-Zinn

47. “In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.” «—» Eckhart Tolle

48. “When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” «—» Lao Tzu

49. “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” «—» Thich Nhat Hanh”

50. “As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.” «—» Walter Landor


HOW CAN I USE THIS?

Now that you’ve read the quotes take a moment to take stock of what stuck with you most.

If you’d like, focus on one quote each day and incorporate it into your work,

OR If you’re one of the people who are stuck worrying about the future or living in the past, focus on the quotes about the present and see what you can learn from them,

OR pick five quotes that speak to you and try to find moments to use them every day.

The opportunities to add a little wisdom to your day are endless.


WANT TO LEARN MORE?

You’ve come to the right place. I offer plenty of classes within the Tampa Bay area for mindfulness, meditation, and yoga (including a FREE class on the first Sunday of the month on St. Pete Beach!!!)

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I offer online classes through a video conference application.

Corporate mindfulness meditation has been shown to boost morale in the workplace, as well as generate more creative energy, try it out for your company and see how much it can help!


WHICH WERE YOUR FAVORITE QUOTES? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

Everything You Need to Know About Mindfulness Meditation

Are you stressed?

Do you often find yourself trapped in your own head, worrying about silly details that end up being meaningless anyway?

Well, a meditation practice that has been around for millennia may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

In fact, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn brought mindfulness meditation into the Western world in the late 1970’s and used it as a treatment for rising stress levels in the work force. His program is called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and has been practiced and scientifically studied ever since.

Jon Kabat Zinn’s work is probably the reason why you have heard the term “mindfulness”! His MBSR program is taught worldwide, and is incredibly helpful for anyone who wants to reduce the amount of stress in their lives.

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Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of MBSR.

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of MBSR.


WHERE DOES MEDITATION BEGIN?

Meditation is a practice that’s been around for millennia! The truth is that we don't have an exact date for the beginnings of mindfulness meditation, but we can attribute its start to several different sources:

  • the Bhagavad Gita

    • a portion of the Hindu scripture which discusses yoga practices as well as Vedic meditations and is possibly the oldest source;

  • the Buddhist concept of Sati

    • translated as mindfulness, which is the first step towards enlightenment in the Buddhist philosophy;

  • and Jon Kabat-Zinn

    • a teacher at the University of Massachusetts who is credited with first bringing mindfulness meditation into the US.


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of consciously focusing on the present moment rather than your worries over what your kid brought to school for lunch, or what deadlines need to be met at work.

Mindfulness allows you to take inventory of what is causing you stress during your day so you can either flip the mental switch on things that don’t need to be stressed about or know what you need to target and tackle during the rest of your day.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn
Stacy Digregorio Mindfulness Meditation Lotus Heart.PNG

Try it with me right now.

1. Sit somewhere comfortable and quiet either sitting on a chair or on a cushion on the floor.

2. Pay attention to the way your body feels as you sit, getting a sense of gravity pulling you into the support of the chair, or cushion.

3. Bring awareness to your breath, the way it feels as it comes in through your nose and out through your mouth, or in your lungs, or your belly. Nothing to change…simply noticing

4. One of the biggest tenets of mindfulness meditation is to not judge whether a wandering thought is good or bad, but to take note of it and to let it go. Gently, kindly, bring your attention back to your breath.

5. If a thought carries you away… remember not to judge yourself #1 you’re just starting, and #2 it happens, you’re human. Refocus on your breathing.

6. Slowly open your eyes…if they were closed…and go on with your day!


LET’S KEEP THE CALM GOING!

Lotus Heart Mindfulness home studio in Tampa, FL.

Lotus Heart Mindfulness home studio in Tampa, FL.

At Lotus Heart Mindfulness I believe that mindfulness meditation should be a central practice to the workday, or any day.

If you are looking for a meditation class in Tampa, there’s no place better to start than with my mindfulness workshop for stress reduction.

If you aren’t in the Tampa Bay area I offer plenty of online meditation classes, as well as mindfulness meditation online classes for 30 or 60 minutes.

I offer corporate meditation classes for those struggling to reduce stress in the workplace, as well as promote company morale.

If you aren’t already sold have a look at a few scientific studies that have shown positive links between mental health, stress reduction, increased focus, and mindfulness meditation here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeenacho/2016/07/14/10-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-mindfulness-and-meditation/#7e34c26763ce

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679190/

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/

Crazy hair, don’t care! - Stacy DiGregorio, Tampa, FL

Crazy hair, don’t care! - Stacy DiGregorio, Tampa, FL

3 Tips on Dealing with “Life” Block

3 Tips on Dealing with “Life” Block

First, recognize that feeling stagnant or unable to create is a totally normal human process, getting frustrated with yourself for feeling uninspired or being unable to get work done is just going to make it worse. So, with that in mind, take time to focus on your breathing and let thoughts enter your conscience however they may.

Mindful Poetry: "Walk, Don't Run" by  Rob Bell

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WALK DON’T RUN

Walk, don’t run.
That’s it.
Walk, don’t run.

Slow down, breathe deeply,
and open your eyes because there’s
a whole world right here within this one. The bush doesn’t suddenly catch on fire, it’s been burning the whole time.

Moses is simply moving
slowly enough to see it. And when he does,
he takes off his sandals.

Not because
the ground has suddenly become holy,
but because he’s just now becoming aware that
the ground has been holy the whole time.

Efficiency is not God’s highest goal for your life,
neither is busyness,
or how many things you can get done in one day,
or speed, or even success.

But walking,
which leads to seeing,
now that’s something.
That’s the invitation for every one of us today,
and everyday, in every conversation, interaction,
event, and moment: to walk, not run. And in doing so,
to see a whole world right here within this one.

By Rob Bell

Mindful Poetry: "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye

before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shihab Nye 
*Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (A Far Corner Book) Paperback – October 1, 1994

*affiliate link

5 Ways to Cope with Change

Here’s the one thing I know for sure: Things are constantly changing.

Constantly. Changing.

I have had some very VERY challenging moments of change in the last 6 months.

Let me just first say that this isn’t a plea-for-sympathy blog post.

Ok, now that I’ve made that clear, here’s what’s been going on: My brother and I (along with our families) have had to face my 87 year old dad breaking both of his hips…6 weeks apart. In between those breaks, he was hospitalized with bleeding ulcers, very close to death, AND, he has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. We moved him out of his beloved home in Oregon to an assisted living facility and put his home up for rent. Oh, and there’s more…but I’ll just leave it at that. So. LOTS of change….for my dad, and everyone close to him. oof.

Now. Here’s the deal. Change can be super challenging sometimes. (see my example above). But I know I don’t have to tell you that.

What can you do to cope?

Here are some things that have help me:

  1. First, read this:

    “Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there's a big disappointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don't know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know.” 
    ― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

    I adore this book by Pema Chödrön. I’ve read it multiple times…and use a different colored highlighter each time I read it…and now almost the entire thing is a rainbow of different highlights! Open yourself up to the possibilities that life has to offer… EVEN in times of challenge and change.

  2. Acknowledge your feelings. What is there for you to know about the way you are feeling? Anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, despair? Can you name it? If not, that’s ok too.

  3. Talk to someone. Someone who can truly listen to you. This can be a loved one, a friend, or a therapist. Talking about how you are feeling can help you get a clear view of what is going on.

  4. Take care of yourself. Start with self compassion. Change can be difficult…give yourself a little hug, and maybe even a “I know this is really difficult for you, and I’m sorry you are going through this.” (I DO realize that this might totally sound kooky as hell…but it can REALLY be helpful!). After a little self-compassion…take care of your health…getting some exercise, eat healthy foods, ease up on any alcohol or weed consumption.

  5. Practice acceptance. This goes back to the thing I know for sure: everything changes. Accept the things that are out of your control. There are things that are simply out of your hands. Focus on what you can control…like, self-care.

    *BONUS* Start a meditation practice. I know a person who can help you get started, if you need it…ahem…cough cough…

How do you cope with change and challenge in your life? I’d love to hear any tips you may have!

Mindful Poetry: "Forget About Enlightenment" by John Welwood

john welwood

Forget About Enlightenment

Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins. 
Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones. 
Open your heart to who you are, right now, 
Not who you would like to be, 
Not the saint you are striving to become, 
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you. 
All of you is holy. 
You are already more and less 
Than whatever you can know. 
Breathe out, 
Touch in, 
Let go.

By: John Welwood

The Solution to Ending Bad Habits

kicking the soda habit

I kicked my Diet Coke habit years ago. I decided that I didn’t want to drink all of the artificial ingredients any more. So, instead of soda…these days I usually have iced tea!

In honor of National Iced Tea Day, I thought I’d talk a little about habits. {How’s that for a segue?!}

We all have things we do on autopilot. {Like, grabbing a soda out of the fridge instead of a glass of water}. What are your habits? Have any that you’d like to quit? Maybe hitting the snooze button every morning or grabbing a sugary snack instead of a healthy one…

Judson Brewer is one of the leaders in studying habits and mindfulness and explained that the part of our brain that is used to make decisions goes “offline” when we get stressed.


And, if one of our habits is triggered by a stressful emotional response…it’s no WONDER that habits are hard to break…even though you know cognitively that they aren’t great for you.

Here is a *link to Judson Brewer’s book, The Craving Mind on breaking habits. I HIGHLY recommend it!

So, mindfulness can play a great role in helping us changing our habits. We have the ability to actually become curious about what is going on within our bodies and minds when we are triggered to step into a habitual response to something!

What are your experiences with habits and trying to break them? Have you tried a little mindfulness? What was that like for you?

*an affiliate link…I get a tiny cut when you buy the book via my link!

Mindful Poetry: "Admit Something" by Hafiz

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Admit Something

Everyone you see, you say to them,
Love me.
Of course you do not do this out loud;
Otherwise,
Someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon language,
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to Hear.

– Hafiz

Experiencing the Present VS. the Stories We Tell Ourselves

sweet soul tampa

This picture of me was taken of me in front of a great little restaurant near my house. The perfect place for an insta pic, right?! Well it got me thinking…and I have a question…

My question to you is: What are the stories you tell yourself?

I’m talking about the inner dialogue. Have you ever paid attention to it?

So, for example, the “I’m not good/smart/thin/rich/whatever enough” stories…or the “I should have done ” stories…or the “If this didn’t happen to me then I could be/do __” stories. I could go on and on…

Our minds need to make sense of the world around us. We have memories, plans for the future, or even try to make sense of tragedies. This storytelling is part of our makeup…

These stories can shape who we are. We make decisions, very often, based on the stories we have about things…whatever they are. Following our stories goes back to our ancient ancestors…needing to make decisions about survival based on, say, the last time they were chased by a tiger.

Here’s the deal, though. Our inner narrative doesn’t always serve us well. AND, it keeps us from experiencing THIS MOMENT as it is actually happening. It’s easy to go back to the stories instead of opening up to the possibility of NOW. I do realize that this sounds like motivational-speaker type speak…but…I mean it in a very matter of fact kind of way…all we actually have is right now.

Here’s a practice to try: Sit for a bit, and let thoughts and emotions be the focal point for your meditation. Without judgement, and with a gentle curiosity, notice what types of thoughts you are having…are they planning thoughts, shoulda-coulda-woulda thoughts, hurtful thoughts, pompous thoughts. Whatever they are, simply notice. From here, and with practice, you might be able to notice when our stories are entering their way into our daily lives. You might get a moment of clarity…a time to see that you could open up to now…to what life has to offer you in this moment.

Mindful Poetry: "The Law that Marries All Things" by Wendell Berry

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The Law that Marries all Things

1.

The cloud is free only

to go with the wind.

The rain is free

only in falling.

The water is free only

in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,

in its rising into air.

2.

In law is rest

if you love the law,

if you enter, singing, into it

as water in its descent.

3.

Or song is truest law,

and you must enter singing;

it has no other entrance.

It is the great chorus

of parts. The only outlawry

is in division

4.

Whatever is singing

is found, awaiting the return

of whatever is lost.

5.

Meet us in the air

over the water,

sing the swallows.

Meet me, meet me,

the redbird sings,

here here here here.

--Wendell Berry * New Collected Poems 2013

*affiliate link

Mindful Poetry: “Mindful” by Mary Oliver

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Mindful

Everyday
I see or hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

“Mindful” by Mary Oliver from Why I Wake Early. © Beacon Press, 2005.



How to Book a Private Yoga Class

private yoga Tampa

Sometime people tell me that yoga is hard for them. It’s got me thinking… is yoga hard or is it hard to show up to public studio classes and overcome judgement?

Everyone’s experience is different and where some people thrive in larger public class settings, others may struggle. And that’s totally okay!

That’s why I recommend private yoga classes!

Private classes come with a judgement-free zone and with a teacher that’s entire attention is on YOU and your wellbeing.


Private classes with Lotus Heart mindfulness

I offer mindful yoga OR mindful meditation for 1-2 people in your home/apartment/recreation center in the South Tampa area.

I also offer private session that are designed 50|50, one part mindful yoga and another part mindful meditation. We start the class with 30 minutes of gentle, mindful yoga, and conclude with a 30 minute meditation.

Classes designed to fit your needs and multi-class passes are available at a discount.


How to Book

Booking a private yoga and/or meditation class with me is super easy!

  1. Set your intention or goals for your yoga sessions. Some people book private classes with me because they have never been to a yoga class before, and are embarrassed to go to a group class. Some book with me because they have body limitations, and attending a studio class is too challenging. Others want to gain flexibility or strength…or have a super-challenging schedule.

  2. Review my private yoga classes and choose which class best suits your needs. I can put together a class just for you, depending on what YOUR experience and intentions are. I think that making yoga convenient is really important.

    1. Are you located locally, in the Tampa Bay area? If so, would you like to be in my private studio setting or would you like me to come to you, in the comfort of your home? I’ve met people at their offices, or even at the beach!

    2. If you’re not local, you might benefit from remote mindfulness meditation classes. Especially if you have a busy or tight schedule because online meditation classes can be held anywhere from your office to your bedroom to a hotel in Peru! View all of my mindfulness meditation classes for more information.

  3. Schedule your appointment! Take a look at your calendar and determine when the perfect time would be for you and I to meet for our private class. I believe that making yoga convenient is really important so I work a class into YOUR schedule.

    1. Sign up for regular classes. I recommend that students sign up for at least four weeks of sessions at a time. This is because consistency is key to adopting healthy habits. Plus, I have multi-class passes available at a discount!

    2. Consider bringing a friend or partner. My classes cater to one to two people at a time. So if you’re taking steps to wellness with a friend or partner, this could be a great opportunity to grow together!

  4. Do your homework. I can get you started on a home practice if you are interested. I make an easy-to-follow practice you can do on your own…until we meet again!

Hopefully this answers some questions you might have had about booking a private class! Feel free to contact me with any extra questions (or leave a question in the comments below!)

How to Find Inner Peace with Meditation

how to find peace

Many people tell me that they think they should meditate because they want to be more calm…to become more peaceful.

I think peacefulness is a great thing to aspire to…it really is! I believe that world peace begins with the individual…it starts with you + me.

But that STRIVING tho….

What kind of toll does it take on yourself to be constantly striving to be something else? The constant WANTING for things to be different than they are? I think it can take quite a toll. You aren’t broken. This stress, and lack of inner peace that you might be experiencing is simply something to be noticed.

So, how to become more peaceful…

Start with mindful meditation, of course.

While meditating, try bringing awareness to your body. Sometimes stress or anxiety can manifest as different bodily sensations…tight shoulders, tightness in the chest or abdomen. By paying attention to the different sensations, you can observe how they can change over time. it’s possible to become intimately aware of the way body sensations can fluctuate. Bring a kind, non-judgmental awareness to whatever is present for you during your meditation, and pay attention to what happens.

By observing your body as it is in the present moment, you aren’t “inhaling the good shit and exhaling the bullshit”…you are sitting with the bullshit for a little while…just watching it do it’s thing…without judging it, or wanting it to change…but watching how it impacts your body.

This, I believe is the beginning to becoming more peaceful. Being ok with what is there in your body/mind can bring a sense of peace without even trying.

What does peace mean to you?

Mindful Poetry: "Caretake This Moment" by Epictetus

caretake this moment, by Epictetus 50 -135 CE

Caretake This Moment 

Caretake this moment.
Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.

Quit the evasions.
Stop giving yourself needless trouble.
It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
You are not some disinterested bystander.
Exert yourself.

When your doors are shut and your room is dark you are not alone.
The will of nature is within you as your natural genius is within.
Listen to its importunings.
Follow its directives.

As concerns the art of living, the material is your own life.
No great thing is created suddenly.
There must be time.

Give your best and always be kind.

by Epictetus  50 -135 CE

Mindful Poetry: "Birdwings" by Rumi

rumi birdwings

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated 
as birdwings.

– Rumi

Creating the Perfect Outdoor Meditation Space

Just LOOK at these gorgeous photos of outdoor meditation/yoga spaces, would you?! I WANT something like this for our house!!

You too can create the most incredible, Instagram-worthy backyard space to meditate in.

Meditation has now become a billion dollar industry. That’s billion with a B.

Many of us think that we must have all of the THINGS that go along with a new meditation practice…or new yoga practice. The new outfit, or incense, or macrame wall hanging…or outdoor meditation space.

While all of those things are really nice, and would certainly make for a comfortable place to meditate, it misses the whole point of meditation: paying attention to now, open-heartedly.

We can pay attention to the WANTING…the striving for bigger, better, more. Noting any feelings of desire (or lack of desire) that arise when you see the “perfect” THING. It’s not wrong to want these things, and it is not a bad thing to build something like this for your own house. Instead of focusing on the thing, take a look at the wanting instead. How does that feel for you.

The truth is, you don’t need anything fancy. In fact THIS is probably the most helpful thing for your outdoor space:

folding_chair.jpg

I mean…you get one of these bad-boys, and you can take it outside for a little meditation sesh! haha!

Do you ever meditate outside? What do you use for a place to sit? A chair, the grass, the ground? a mat?

Mindful Poetry: "The World Offers itself to Your Imagination" by Mary Oliver

mary oliver wild geese

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a HUGE Mary Oliver fan. Here is her beautiful poem, Wild Geese, and below…Mary Oliver reading it.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

How to be Honest with Yourself

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It’s National Honesty Day. I love how the month of April starts out with FOOLS, and ends with getting real!!

So, how do you become more honest with YOURSELF?!

With mindfulness. And meditation.

Of course I’d say that, right?!

But HOW does this work?!

When you sit in mindfulness mediation, you are paying attention to the present moment, non-judgmentally. You are simply noticing what is going on right NOW….with a willingness to be with what is.

Here’s the thing: Sitting with a willingness to be with what is, isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes you have to sit right down in the muddy water of life and feel it…just BE with it for a while…watching how it unfolds. And, that’s ok! Mindfulness meditation practice gives us the chance to do this.

With a seated meditation practice, you might sit with some unpleasant feelings or thoughts. You have the opportunity to notice how those feelings & thoughts come and go. Gradually, you can learn to become more accepting of things as they are (remember that non-judgmental thing that I mentioned earlier?!).

The stories we tell ourselves: Very often, we have habitual ways of thinking of things…we have stories that we tell ourselves. These stories aren’t necessarily based on truth. Especially the negative self-talk or reasons why things are a certain way. With a regular mindfulness meditation practice, it’s easier to see these stories as they are happening. You can pay attention to whatever happens to arise in each particular moment.

Having a sense of humor helps sometimes too…believe me.

Seeing your TRUE self is possible when the stories are seen as just that: stories. We can be in the present moment with what ACTUALLY is…and have the opportunity to see things as they are when we practice mindfulness meditation.

So, happy honesty day, everyone! Have a little sit, and let’s get real.