Yoga Tune Up® Workshops

I’m offering a series of Yoga Tune Up® workshops at Indigo in September/October.  Details can be found on my Teaching Schedule page:  https://heatherlongoria.com/teaching-schedule/.

I would love to share this unique teaching style with you!  In my normal, every-day corporate life, I see so many people struggling with tension, stress, anxiety, and dis-embodiment.  If you are tired of dealing with these issues, please, please come check out one of my classes and discover what a little bit of self-care can do for your mind and body.

Meditation – Hlo Style

I’ve been dabbling in meditation off and on for the past four years or so.  Over that time frame I have discovered and rediscovered some things that I really love and that seem to work for me.  I think that all of us humans are different, though, so the style of meditation that really floats my boat may do nothing for you. But here is what I’ve found works for the best for me.  Try some of these out, and let me know what you think in the comments!

The simplest form of meditation is focusing on your breath – breathe in/belly rise, breathe out/belly fall.  This is a very relaxing form of meditation, but when it’s self-directed (e.g. Heather is telling Heather to breathe in and breathe out), Heather gets distracted and starts thinking about brushing her teeth or which Moleskin she is going to buy next or how dirty the floor is.

And that is why I am a big fan of led meditations.  And fortunately with the advent of computers and smart phones and apps, there is a plethora of options to choose from.  Here are some links to my current meditation tool-set.

  1.  Dharma Ocean 10 Points Meditation.  This somatic (body-based) meditation focuses your mind on different parts of the body.  It helps keep my attention focused, while at the same time allowing me to consciously relax tension that I am unconsciously holding.
  2. Yoga Nidra.  I LOVE yoga nidra.  This is the thing that sparked my interest in yoga 5-6 years ago.  With this style of meditation, the mind’s awareness is drawn methodically through different areas of the body in an almost hypnotic fashion.  I love to listen to this type of meditation before I go to sleep.  Here is a link to a couple of different yoga nidras:
    1. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/a-short-yoga-nidra
    2. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/a-long-yoga-nidra
    3. Google “Yoga Nidra,” and I bet almost anyone you find will be delightful.
  3. Insight Timer.   This is an amazing free app that has a TON of different meditations.  You can search for a specific type (yoga nidra, loving-kindness, etc.), or you can scroll through and look for ones that sound interesting.  It has meditations of several different lengths, so if you only have 5 minutes, scroll for 10 seconds, sit or lay down, and meditate for 5 minutes.  There are a lot of led meditations by British people, and that accent just really does it for me. 😉  The app also gives you the ability to connect with others meditating in your area, which forms a nice, non-intrusive meditation community.
  4. Design of the Body podcast.  For ~30 mins, Dr. Donna Embree  walks you through a meditation where you breathe up from the earth, drawing energy through all your chakras, balancing then and tuning in to your body’s “dashboard.”  This meditation is a little bit “woo-woo,” but when I do it (usually while taking a walk), I feel more centered and grounded. If you listen to this one, try to have an open mind and let go of judgement, and I think you will enjoy it.
  5. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
    1. Body Scan – 32 minute version.
    2. Body Scan – 20 minutes version.
  6. 8 Minute Meditation Guide.  This is the first book I bought on meditation.  If you do not want to go the “led” route, this book will teach you several different forms of mediation which you are encouraged to practice for just 8 minutes a day for a week.  My personal favorites are loving-kindness and body scan, but I got value from all of them.

Obviously I really love body-based meditations.  🙂

Hopefully you found this information helpful. If you get on Insight Timer, look me up, so we can support each other in our meditation practice.

Take care, and have a fabulous Labor Day!  Thanks for reading!

The Great Work of My Life

Why am I here?  Why did I incorporate into this body, this family, in the time, in this place?  How can I best use my skills, abilities, knowledge and idiosyncranies to serve humankind?  What will light my fire and keep it burning?  For what am I willing to be “used up?”

Are these questions you have ever asked yourself?  They are questions I have been struggling with answering for the past few years.  Tired of thinking myself in circles, I met with a psychologist/yoga therapist to get some outside feedback. I needed some help getting out of my head.  As I explained my quest to her, she informed me that I was looking for my dharma (aka sacred duty).

This was a word I had encountered briefly in the past, but I never really knew what it was.  Based on her recommendation, I read The Great Work of Your Life: A guide for the journey to your true calling by Stephen Cope.  It is a beautiful, beautiful book that provides lots of guidance (some of it divine) about finding your calling and purpose.

I won’t write a review of the book, except to say it’s really good and you should read it post haste. 🙂  But I do want to highlight some of the passages that especially struck me (I love the word “passage” to refer to sections of a book – gateways to expanded thought!).  Page numbers are taken from the 2015 Bantam Books Trade Paperback Edition.

  1. Page xviii (Introduction). Regarding writing his books, Stephen says that “It seems that it was the effort required to bring them forth itself that saved me.”  Having written his books did nothing for him – it was putting that work into writing them that was truly satisfying.  DOING the work (not necessarily the end product) is the important thing.
  2. Page xxiv – “People actually feel happiest and most fulfilled when meeting the challenge of their dharma in the world, when bringing highly concentrated effort to some compelling activity for which they have a true calling.”
  3. Page 11 – “It increasingly begins to dawn on her that in order to find the next expression of dharma she is going to have to take a leap of some kind.”  Page 38 – “…Dharma always involves, at some point, a leap off a cliff in the dark.”
  4. Page 16 – “Success and failure in the eyes of the world are not your concern. “Better to fail at your dharma than to succeed at the dharma of someone else,” he says.”” The “he” in that sentence is Krishna (aka God).  Smart guy.
  5. Page 32 – “We have a responsibility to The Gift.  The Gift is God in disguise.”
  6. Page 36 – “Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference.”
  7. Page 42 – “We only know who we are by trying on various versions of ourselves.”
  8. Page 44 – “”Be resolutely and faithfully what you are,” said Thoreau – not who you think you should be.”
  9. Page 46 – An explanation of Indra’s Net.  We are all jewels on an interconnected web, shining forth onto others and reflecting all the other jewels in the net.  “The action of each individual soul holds together the entire net.  Small and large at the same time.”
  10. Page 47 – “Our actions in expression of our dharma…are infinitely important….They create the world.”
  11. Page 56 – “Careful attunement to dharma will demand that we reinvent ourselves periodically throughout life.”
  12. Page 62 – “…(ambivalence, it turns out, is an unavoidable companion in the search for a new dharma).”
  13. Page 64 – “Each of us feels some aspect of the world’s suffering acutely. It tears at our hearts.”  “This little corner of the world is ours to transform.  This little corner of the world is ours to save.”

Well, I will stop at Lucky 13. This covers my highlights from the first 1/4 of the book.  I will write more starting with The Second Pillar:  “Do It Full Out!”

What do you think your dharma is?  Have you found it?  If so, how?