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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!

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!

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

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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

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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!