stress relief

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!

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