Mindfulness Retreats: Here's What I Learned

This summer, I had the pleasure to meet with new and old friends at the Midsummer Mindfulness Conference in Rome, Italy. My meditation experience began with my Japanese mom in childhood. My formal training is from yoga instructor trainings and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program from the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts. Midsummer Mindfulness was a fantastic opportunity to renew myself at the source.

I want to share with you some of my top take-aways:

1. Make time each day to connect with your breath. Expanding mindfulness begins with mind-body awareness and your breath is the quickest pathway to tuning in with yourself in the here and now. While you may be too rushed to start a full meditation program, you can find time to bring attention to your breath, even for 3 full inhalations and exhalations, or for one minute.  For example, notice where you feel your breath in your body. Rather than thinking about the inhale and exhale, drop into it. This is a great way to start a habit of connecting with yourself in the present moment. Let me know how it works for you.

Paced breathing is a proven technique to naturally reduce high blood pressure and to create feelings of calm and improved mood.  Here's a 5 minute guided meditation breathing exercise for relaxation: 


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2. See what's good and beautiful. While the world may sometimes feel overwhelming and stressful, there still is goodness, beauty and things that are working well in your life—people you love and appreciate, even cherished pets. Find time each day to acknowledge this goodness, innocence, kindness and beauty that you see around you and know that this too, is part of the world that we share.

3. Practice genuine self-compassion. Be gentle and kind with yourself. Instead of criticizing yourself for not making more time to meditate, acknowledge how hard you are working, how much you do and sincerely pat yourself on the back. Begin your self-care efforts, by first really being proud of you and breathing into that acknowledgment. More will fall into place with time. I'll keep sharing tips, I promise.

Breathe and be. Congratulations on you being the best you today.

Check out my free 2-minute guided meditations for an introduction to mindfulness here




Stretching, breathing, and mat based exercises with meditative visualizations to awaken the spirit - melding the best of Pilates with Eastern philosophy.