yoga

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!

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!

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!

How to Book a Private Yoga Class

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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!)

The Real Reason of Why I Practice Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation

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I have been practicing yoga for 18 years, and meditating for 8 years…I’ve gone in waves of being super diligent in my practice…to completely blowing it off. And, I can ABSOLUTELY tell when I’ve been blowing it off. It’s when I’m NOT practicing that I REALLY understand the reasons why I practice…because the benefits are present when I am being present, and practicing daily.

Here are 3 BIG reasons why I practice:

  1. Less anxiety. This is my absolute #1 reason for both meditation and yoga practice….but ESPECIALLY meditation. I suffered with anxiety for YEARS without even knowing it…until I started meditating. I realized that with a daily meditation practice, the anxiety that has been a constant in my life isn’t there in the way that it used to be. The constant buzz of nerves I felt in my belly (for YEARS without realizing it) goes away when I practice. I now can actually FEEL the anxiety coming on, and have the opportunity to respond to it in a different way…which has absolutely changed my life (I know, I KNOW…this sounds pretty dramatic, but it has been truly life altering!!)

  2. Greater strength. Another biggie. The physical strength that comes from my yoga practice isn’t even as important as the INNER STRENGTH that comes from both yoga and meditation. My practice leaves me feeling empowered.

  3. More self-compassion. So, with yoga I’ve learned over the years to be ok with falling out of tree pose, or my tumultuous relationship with shoulderstand. Truly, I’m ok with it…some days I nail the poses, and some days I don’t. With meditation, I’m ok with the monkey mind…and I can see when my super-judgmental thoughts creep in about it. The biggest benefits come from paying attention without judgement. I think this is why, when I’m not on the mat, or meditation bench, that I’ve gotten so much better with self-compassion.

Does any of this ring true for you? Why do you practice? I’d love to know! Leave your comments below!