I truly care about the health and happiness of all my clients. So I am sharing with you 20 practical tips for meditation and understanding the mind for beginners that anyone can do. I’m not saying it’s easy, you can start small and get better and better as you practice. Don’t expect to be good at first — that’s why it’s called “practice”!

These tips aren’t aimed at helping you to become an expert … they should help you get started and keep going. You don’t have to implement them all at once — try a few, come back to this post, and try one or two more.

1.    Sit for just two minutes. This will seem ridiculously easy, to just meditate for two minutes. That’s perfect. Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month, which is amazing! But start small first.

2.    Do it first thing each morning. It’s easy to say, “I’ll meditate every day,” but then forget to do it. Instead, set a reminder for every morning when you get up, and put a note that says “meditate” somewhere where you’ll see it.

3.    Don’t get caught up in the how — just do. Most people worry about where to sit, how to sit, what cushion to use … this is all nice, but it’s not that important to get started. Start just by sitting on a chair, or on your couch. Or on your bed. If you’re comfortable on the ground, sit cross-legged. It’s just for two minutes at first anyway, so just sit. Later you can worry about optimizing it so you’ll be comfortable for longer, but in the beginning it doesn’t matter much, just sit somewhere quiet and comfortable.

4.    Check in with how you’re feeling. As you first settle into your meditation session, simply check to see how you’re feeling. How does your body feel? What is the quality of your mind? Busy? Tired? Anxious? See whatever you’re bringing to this meditation session as completely OK.

5.    Count your breaths. Now that you’re settled in, turn your attention to your breath. Just place the attention on your breath as it comes in, and follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you take in the first breath, then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat this to the count of 10, then start again at one.

6.    Come back when you wander. Your mind will wander. This is an almost absolute certainty. There’s no problem with that. When you notice your mind wandering, smile, and simply gently return to your breath. Count “one” again, and start over. You might feel a little frustration, but it’s perfectly OK to not stay focused, we all do it. This is the practice, and you won’t be good at it for a little while.

7.    Develop a loving attitude. When you notice thoughts and feelings arising during meditation, as they will, look at them with a friendly attitude. See them as friends, not intruders or enemies. They are a part of you, though not all of you. Be friendly and not harsh.

8.    Don’t worry too much that you’re doing it wrong. You will worry you’re doing it wrong. That’s OK, we all do. You’re not doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way to do it, just be happy you’re doing it.

9.    Don’t worry about clearing the mind. Lots of people think meditation is about clearing your mind, or stopping all thoughts. It’s not. This can sometimes happen, but it’s not the “goal” of meditation. If you have thoughts, that’s normal. We all do. Our brains are thought factories, and we can’t just shut them down. Instead, just try to practice focusing your attention, and practice some more when your mind wanders.

10.    Stay with whatever arises.When thoughts or feelings arise, and they will, you might try staying with them awhile. Yes, I know I said to return to the breath, but after you practice that for a week, you might also try staying with a thought or feeling that arises. We tend to want to avoid feelings like frustration, anger, anxiety … but an amazingly useful meditation practice is to stay with the feeling for a while. Just stay, and be curious.

11.    Get to know yourself. This practice isn’t just about focusing your attention, it’s about learning how your mind works. What’s going on inside there? It’s murky, but by watching your mind wander, get frustrated, avoid difficult feelings … you can start to understand yourself.

12.    Become friends with yourself.  As you get to know yourself, do it with a friendly attitude instead of one of criticism. You’re getting to know a friend. Smile and give yourself love.

13.    Do a body scan. Another thing you can do, once you become a little better at following your breath, is focus your attention on one body part at a time. Start at the soles of your feet — how do those feel? Slowly move to your toes, the tops of your feet, your ankles, all the way to the top of your head.

14.    Notice the light, sounds, energy.  Another place to put your attention, again, after you’ve practice with your breath for at least a week, is the light all around you. Just keep your eyes on one spot, and notice the light in the room you’re in. Another day, just focus on noticing sounds. Another day, try to notice the energy in the room all around you (including light and sounds).

15.    Really commit yourself. Don’t just say, “Sure, I’ll try this for a couple days.” Really commit yourself to this. In your mind, be locked in, for at least a month.

16.    You can do it anywhere.  If you’re traveling or something comes up in the morning, you can do meditation in your office. In the park. During your commute. As you walk somewhere. Sitting meditation is the best place to start, but in truth, you’re practicing for this kind of mindfulness in your entire life.

17.    Follow guided meditation. If it helps, you can try following guided meditations to start with. There are tons of meditation resources online.

18.    Check in with friends. While I like meditating alone, you can do it with your spouse or child or a friend. Or just make a commitment with a friend to check in every morning after meditation. It might help you stick with it for longer.

19.    Find a community. Even better, find a community of people who are meditating and join them. This might be a Zen or Tibetan community near you (for example), where you go and meditate with them. Or find an online group and check in with them and ask questions, get support, encourage others.

20.    Smile when you’re done. When you’re finished with your two minutes, smile. Be grateful that you had this time to yourself, that you stuck with your commitment, that you showed yourself that you’re trustworthy, where you took the time to get to know yourself and make friends with yourself. That’s an amazing two minutes of your life.

Nov 25, 2015

Turmeric: the wonder spice

Although Massage is my business and passion, Massage is only one facet of a healthy life style. Your diet also plays a very important role in living a long, healthy, and happy life.

Did you know that the turmeric is one of the world’s most healthiest foods?!?!  Adding as little as one teaspoon of turmeric to your diet each day can do some amazing things!

Some Yoga students may prefer a Massage directly before a Yoga class to loosen and increase blood supply to the muscles and allow the fascia (outside layer of the muscles) to increase in length. This could enable the student to get into postures with a deeper hold and also increases the stretch proprioceptors in the tight overused muscles of the body.

However, as you may know, a good Massage may often leave you feeling extremely relaxed and may take your mind and body sometime to re-adjust in order to perform any type of physical or strenuous activity.

This is why I highly recommend a relaxing, therapeutic, or Ayurveda Massage after a Yoga session depending on how your mind and body are feeling.

Feb 8, 2016
Yoga and Massage: The Perfect Combination of Health!

I hope all is well and that you are surviving the mid-winter blues. I wanted to take the time to send along some information on the health benefits of combining Yoga and Massage!

Separately, Yoga and Massage are both great ways to work towards a healthier lifestyle. Both attempt to bring the mind, body, and spirit into alignment and each have great benefits.

Have you ever considered a Massage directly after a Yoga session?

MAY 2, 2016


With Mother's Day coming on Sunday May 8th we take the day to honor with thankfulness and gratitude the women in our life and across the globe who have brought children into this world and given so much to raise, care for, teach, and love us throughout our lives.

As I thought about the day, I realized it is certainly a day to recognize and appreciate mothers for all they do but we don't necessarily need days like this to remind us we can be grateful everyday in our lives. Gratitude is much more than being thankful. Thankfulness is an expression of happiness. Being thankful is telling someone you appreciate what they have done. Being thankful is being glad it didn’t rain on picnic day. Being thankful is happiness from a gift.

Gratitude is thankfulness taken to the next level. It is a heart-felt and intellectual acknowledgement of all that is good in your life. It’s embracing uncertainty. To feel gratitude towards the bad things that have happened to us knowing that will lead you a new opportunity.

Take on an Attitude of Gratitude everyday in your life and see and feel what a difference it makes!

Here are a some inspirational quotes that will help you go from simple thankfulness to a heart-felt gratitude!

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” ~Buddha

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.” ~ Barry Neil Kaufman

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

Health and Happiness,
Barbara Ritrovato, LMT
Lotus Massage and Skin Care

Turmeric has been a staple part of Asian culture for thousands of years; originally it was used as a dye, and then progressed to be a key medicinal component. Today, the majority of us know turmeric as a spice used in curries – it’s the one that gives them the yellow color that we are all familiar with.

So, what is turmeric? It is a perennial plant that belongs to the same family as ginger, and, although it is grown in other parts of the world, is native to south-east India.


It can be eaten fresh, but in order to prepare it for the commercial market, the rhizomes of the plant are boiled, oven-dried, and then ground. One of the active ingredients in turmeric is curcumin – and it is this that is so important when it comes to health.Type your paragraph here.

Although India has known about the healing properties of turmeric for many hundreds of years, this well-kept secret is now being backed by scientific research. Click here to learn how studies show that turmeric is as effective of at least 14 different drugs! Here are only some of dozens of incredible health benefits of turmeric that have been backed by evidence:

  • Cancer blocker
  • Powerful Anti-oxidant
  • Potent Anti-inflammatory
  • Arthritis relief
  • Aids in indigestion and heart burn
  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Impact on diabetes
  • Improved brain function
  • Lowers risk of brain disease (Alzheimer's)
  • Anti-depressant
  • Treatment for menopause

The full list is seemingly endless but don't just take my word for it! Do some research and learn how just by adding a little turmeric to your diet can help you today. Click here for a site dedicated to turmeric for health and read more.

Health and Happiness,
Barbara Ritrovato, LMT
Lotus Massage and Skin Care

Meditation isn’t always easy or even peaceful. But it has truly amazing benefits, and you can start today, and continue for the rest of your life. The more you practice the more you will realize the remarkable results meditate can produce and you can take this into all aspects of your daily life to be a healthy, happy, wise, and compassionate person!

Health and Happiness,
Barbara Ritrovato, LMT
Lotus Massage and Skin Care

People have used meditation for for thousands of years  to move beyond the mind’s stress-inducing thoughts and emotional ups and downs into the peaceful clarity of present moment awareness. Although the  variety of meditation techniques, traditions, and technologies is nearly infinite, the essence of meditation remains: to cultivate mindfulness through awareness and expanded consciousness.

These are the ultimate precious gifts of meditation, yet people are initially drawn to meditation for many different reasons, and you don’t have to be a monk, a priest, a martial artist, or a hermit living in cave to realize the benefits of meditation!!

Maybe you think  you just don’t have the time in busy your life to meditate. Trust me I know how busy and hectic life can get but consider this; there are 1440 minutes in a day. How many do you waste on FB, in front of the TV, or online? Meditating just 10 minutes a day can have profound results.

Yoga puts you in a state of a mind-body connection as well as physically stretching our body.  Massage will continue that process not only to relieve sore muscles but to increase circulation, stimulating and strengthening the lymphatic system, which results in a cleansing and revitalizing of the body. With Ayurvedic Massage, essential oils and herbs are very nourishing and detoxifying. Providing relief of symptomatic stress and generating positive emotions making us feel better physically and emotionally.

MAR, 15 2016

As hints of Spring are slowly starting to surface, it’s the perfect time of year to start to breathe in new life to our health practices. Speaking of breath, do you or have you ever considered incorporating meditation into your life?

Some benefits of combining Massage and Yoga include:

Improved Flexibility - Massage and Yoga each help your body become more flexible, with yoga working gradually on increasing your stretching ability and massage helping boost the natural lubricants in connective tissue. A greater range of motion and more limber joints make everyday activities easier, as well as improving your posture and even your breathing.

Increased Circulation - Yoga and Massage both help blood move through your body, making room for more oxygen-rich blood that keeps your hands and feet warm while healing injured muscles. This also results in lower blood pressure, which improves your overall health and wellness.

Stress Relief - Stress is part of everyday life, yet it takes a toll on your health. Anyone who maintains a busy schedule, spends extended time in the same position, or uses muscles for repeated movement, sometimes feels a twinge of pain or discomfort. Yoga and Massage can both provide the kind of relaxation that results in deeper sleep, better physical and mental performance, and higher energy levels.

If you are a student of Yoga, why not consider scheduling a Massage after a Yoga session and experience the benefits of both!

Health and Happiness,
Barbara Ritrovato, LMT
Lotus Massage and Skin Care

Some begin meditating because of a doctor’s recommendation, seeking the health benefits of lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep. Others come to meditation seeking relief from the fearful, angry, or painful thoughts that constantly flood their mind. Still others come to meditation to find greater self-understanding and awareness, to increase their intuitive powers, or to improve their ability to concentrate.

It is accurate to say that the purpose of meditation depends on the meditator – but it is also true that anyone who meditates regularly receives profound benefits on all of these levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

The list of benefits of mediation is almost endless but here are just a few that are sure to help just about everyone:

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, anger

  • Increases mental strength, focus, and memory

  • Improves immune system

  • Increases flow of blood to the heart

  • Improves empathy and compassion

  • Promotes over all well-being and happiness

Dec 6, 2015

holiday stress relief

The holiday season is here and the most stressful time of year for the average person. And it's no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining. Your shopping list is two miles long, your in-laws are in town, and you’re out of time!

Stress is a normal part of life and the human body is designed to experience it and react to it. Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger but stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked and stress-related tension builds.

Did you know:

  • 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • 75% to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
  • Stress can be treated with Aromatherapy and Massage

Take 60 min to let Lotus Massage reduce your stress hormones by scheduling an Anxiety Relief Massage today!

Health and Happiness,
Barbara Ritrovato, LMT
Lotus Massage and Skin Care