5 Keys to a Successful Meditation Practice

I recommend beginning a meditation practice with a strong intention.   At my Ignite Your Best Mindset Group, I tell participants that when your desire is heartfelt, your commitment will be much stronger.  This is the first of five steps to make your meditation a success long-term to empower your best life.

If you don’t set a firm intention, you’ll eventually lose sight of the reason you’re meditating, and be off course.   When you are aware of your intention, it’s like you’re the great batter who is consciously aware of every muscle as he moves his body toward the ball to score a homerun.  Be like that athlete who succeeds!

To set an intention, write down your answers to the follow questions:

  • What is my deepest desire for meditating?
  • How many minutes am I willing to dedicate to the practice?
  • How many days a week am I truly willing to meditate?
  • What is my deepest desire to achieve; is it connecting to your higher power, stress relief, more peace?

Now make an intention from your answers.  For example, “I will commit to a practice of at least 5 to 20 minutes of meditating or Guided Imagery each day to wake up and empower my best life.”  Or it could be, “I intend to do five minutes of meditation three times a week for stress relief.” Whatever you choose and say will be just right for you.  The most important thing is to write down your intention and begin.  When you calm your mind, go inside, you are now aligned with your higher self to inspire and expect great things.

Here are the 5 keys to a successful practice:

  1. Set an intention
  2. Align with Your Higher Power or the Divine
  3. Tune into your body and breath
  4. Welcome your thoughts and feelings
  5. Tap into a sense of wellbeing, joy, and compassion

In future blog posts, I will go more in depth with the other keys to a successful meditation practice.  You can also work with a meditation coach to help setup a strong practice.

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach, a Guided Imagery Specialist, and Producer.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Venture Cafe’ Ignite Your Best Mindset

Are you ready to access your inner power, turn off stress, heal your mind and body, and inspire effortless success?  Many top athletes, entrepreneurs, and executives use visualization to empower their careers, relationships, health, and business.  In the last 10 years, there have been thousands of studies boasting great benefits of using Guided Imagery and meditation for health, relationships, and success.

Learn more at a FREE introductory talk at Venture Cafe, Thursday, October 19th from 4:00 to 5:00 PM.  As a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner, Vicki Atlas-Israel will share some amazing studies, insights, plus take you through a group Guided Imagery session.  She has been trained by Jack Canfield, Best-Selling Author of “The Success Principles” and Dr. Joe Dispenza, featured in the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know.” Here are some benefits of using Guided Imagery:

  • Improves focus, learning, creativity, and performance
  • Promotes joyful feelings of inner peace
  • Enhances and Improves self-esteem
  • Improves quality of life and overall health
  • Elevates intuitive insights

We look forward to seeing you at “Ignite Your Best Mindset” at Venture Cafe!

5 Steps to Silence Your Critical Voice

How do you make peace with that inner critical voice?  As I begin writing, thoughts appear: “You’re not good enough; What do you have to say that hasn’t been said? How can you help, if your mind is full of junk?”  Ruminating thoughts and negative chatter like this stops us from reaching our dreams and goals and can also lead to depression.

Today, are you ready to take the challenge with me?  Make peace with that inner critic that says you’re not smart enough, or pretty enough? You’re too fat.  You’re too poor.  You don’t know what you’re doing.  Let’s decide today that we’ll shine a light on ways to silence the voice.  What if we had tools to make peace with that negative voice when it starts chiming in?

Well NOW you do.  And here are what Positive Psychology studies are suggesting.

Look for the positive.  Amplify Your Strengths:  Some research has suggested that we need five positive thoughts for every negative voice we carry around in our heads to feel balanced, happy, and productive.  We often assume focusing on our weaknesses will help, when actually, amplifying our strengths is more important and MORE productive.

Ask for the Positive:  When bosses or others are critical, make sure you ask them for positive feedback as well.   They may not realize the power of the mind.  Neuroscientists studying learning have found this to be the case—when you expect and compliment what’s going right, this expands, and your team will perform stronger.   They haven’t reached their potential and they’re more apt to dig in to fix it. They also learn better, too, than from harsh criticism.

Name the critical voice as quickly as possible. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Bird-Man” the lead character has a very demeaning voice.   Whenever you hear the mean voice—label it.  Bring it to awareness, “Oh there’s that critical voice.”   Mentally reassure the crazy critic that you got this, you can handle this, and don’t need help. With practice, you’ll label it quickly.

Get out of your head and into the present moment.  When you live in the moment, your inner voices go silent. From that point, you are operating from your heart, your deeper mind. You are then following your infinite wisdom, rather than your Ego thinking brain.  To become present in the moment,  take a few breaths, become aware of your body or your immediate surroundings.  This breaks the grip.

Make peace and ask the voice to be more of a coach.   I learned this from Jack Canfield, best-selling author of the “Success Principles.”  At one point, he had a conversation with his inner critic, and said, “Hey, I need you to be more supportive, less critical.  This other way is clearly NOT working.”   From that point on, the voice seemed more positive, more supportive.

 And if all else fails, picture that voice and its big mouth-yakking away.  Now, take a huge piece of black tape.  Cover up the mouth with all of your might.   Now, you cannot hear or make out the words. Ha ha!  That’s one way to fix it!

Please share this blog post and comment how you silence your critical voice.

Vicki Atlas is a Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner and Meditation Coach.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace to children and adults and helping you enlighten your life.  She produces the CalmingCorner.com for kids and is helping educators and parents awaken to their best life. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com


Lean into Positivity

A friend recently asked about the benefits of Guided Imagery.  How does tuning into grace and ease for healthier living sound to you?  Here’s the definition: Guided Imagery is a relaxation technique in which words, sounds, and music are used to evoke positive mental images, feelings, and thoughts.  There are over a thousand studies confirming Guided Imagery and meditation can aid health, improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance well-being.   Children also benefit from leaning into positivity.

All of us can use a little peace from daily stress and the over-active monkey-mind. That’s the chatter of thoughts, many times negative, that seem to go on endlessly. Meditation and Guided Imagery are one of the best tools we have to build brain elasticity and counter negativity and stress. Guided meditation is so easy–turn on, tune in, and power up your life.  Plus, guided imagery can lead to an increase in positive experiences, and connect us to the present moment. Ample research concludes that having a regular practice of Guided Imagery and meditation produces benefits for mental and physical wellbeing. Some of these include:

  • Decreased anxiety, depression, and sleep issues
  • Reduced blood pressure and hypertension
  • Lowered cholesterol levels
  • Less production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
  • More efficient oxygen use by the body and improved immune function
  • Plus, increasing the anti-aging hormone DHEA

It’s an exciting time because the research in quantum physics shows that your perception of reality affects and may even alter your reality. So if the majority of the time you are experiencing negative thinking and beliefs, that is what you will draw into your life. So focus on the good–lean into positivity and gratitude–and watch how your health and wellbeing improve!  Check out our Guided Imagery programs at HeartTalkNow.com.  We even have one you can download for free.

Wishing you peace!

Vicki Atlas is a Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner and Meditation Coach.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace to children and helping educators and parents awaken to their best life. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

7 Tips for Meditating

We’ve all heard about the benefits of meditating for stress relief, focus, creativity and adding more joy.  At Heart Talk Now, we help stressed-out professionals, parents, and preschools.  Since May is Meditation Month and being a Certified Guided Imagery Coach, let’s get a practice going.  Here are 7 helpful tips for meditating… 

  1. Choose a quiet place where you will not be disturbed
  2. Sit rather than lie down, if you can, to prevent sleep
  3. Pick a regular time of day morning or evening, or both
  4. Know that thoughts will come in—just let them float away like clouds
  5. Come to your practice with an attitude of gratitude
  6. Let go of doing it “perfectly;” practice will make it easier
  7. Commit to doing meditation for 21 days to make it a habit

Here are a few suggestions.  To begin your brief meditation, sit up straight in a chair, close your eyes, and do a meditative breath.  Breathe in on a count of four, hold for four, then breathe out on a count of four, and pause for four.  This breathing technique is used by the Navy Seals for calm and focus after every important mission.  They call it the “Boxed Breath.”  Do this meditative breath or what I like to call “16 Seconds to Bliss” for a few rounds.  Then let go of counting and breathe in and out normally.   If counting to four is too difficult due to breathing issues, try counting to 2 or 3 instead.

If thoughts come in, let them go and return to your breath, and you may try saying to yourself “peace” or “I am more peaceful.”  Say this mantra or focus on your breathing. Do this meditation for five minutes the first week, then each week add five more minutes until you reach 20 minutes.  Who doesn’t have five minutes?  You can do this.

There’s an important Harvard Study that showed within eight weeks of meditating, brain scans show more calm and focus in crucial areas of the brain for those who meditated compared to a control group who did not meditate.

To make meditation simple, we also have a wealth of Guided Meditations at HeartTalkNow.com—just tune in, turn on, power up your life.  “Stress Buster” is quite popular as well as “Embrace Love, Release Fear,” for releasing worry.   Working with a meditation teacher or coach also can be quite helpful.

Wishing you peace!




Open Your Heart to Fearless Living

Have you given much thought to your heart lately?   Is it opened or closed? Are you still holding onto grief or heartbreak?  Let’s release old pain so we may embrace fearless living.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with a group of women who are opening their hearts.  I salute these brave ladies who are peeling away old stuff so that they may bring more love and what they truly desire.  Having experienced divorce or a hard breakup, they are letting go of resentments, fears, and doubts so they may attract a loving soul mate from a place of upliftment, instead of holding onto anger or bitterness.   Life and Relationship Coach Sandy Tomey is holding that space for them to unfold into a new vision

We combined a beautiful Open Heart Meditation with the Open Heart Expansion Art project co-led by St. Louis Artist Catharine Magel.  Watching them mold clay with their hands seemed to melt away their anguish and tears.  They could see their heart begin to open to possibilities.  It’s a great lesson for us all.  Our hearts are holding a space for us to create a life of purpose, love, meaning, and gratitude.  Our best selves are here to shine, and in order to do that we must let go of resentments and old stuff holding us back, so we can open our hearts just a little more and embrace fearless living.

How many times have we heard of people who have died from a broken heart?   There is a time to grieve, but at one point like these vulnerable women, we must release the pain.  When we finally release, we are then open to receive all of the good.

This process can begin with you mindfully visioning what you truly desire in your life.  Think of it as often as possible, like great sports legends who win Super Bowl Champions or Olympic Gold Medalists.  They have learned the power of visioning with all of their hearts.  So if it’s a loving relationship, better health, success, more connection and purpose, let’s tune in more to our hearts, instead of our head.   Let’s vision more and fear less.  As Oprah Winfrey says, ”If you invite love into your heart space, and to everything and everyone you meet, that elevates your flow and allows unbounded goodness to flow back to  you.”

Share how you would like to open your heart more, or how you have opened your heart in the face of heartache or pain.  Also, if you want to experience the “Open Heart Meditation,” it’s available on my Store page at HeartTalkNow.com.  Namaste.


Learn to Meditate with Ease

Are You Stressed Out?  Feel Out-of-Balanced?

Come to our introductory workshop and learn to “Meditate with Ease.”  You will gain more calm and happiness.  This workshop is for beginners or for those who have tried meditation before.  We will also explore the science and research behind how meditation changes the brain and overall well-being. You will come away with meditation techniques and Guided Imagery to begin a meditation practice.   Learn ways to quiet the mind to empower your life   As a bonus gift, receive a special “Stress Buster” Guided Imagery audio program and meditation tips to get started.

The Pilates and Yoga Center in Ladue is teaming up with Heart Talk Now to help you add more peace into your life with a powerful meditation workshop.

  • Add more calm 
  • Improve your health and wellbeing
  • Enjoy more success and abundance

Please RSVP and let us know you’re coming!

Workshop Facilitator:  Vicki Atlas Israel, CGIP, Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner

Vicki is passionate about providing stressed-out adults and children with tools to nourish their inner spirit toward more peace, love, and abundance.  Expand your creativity, happiness, and wellbeing.  In the process, you may also discover better sleep!

Need a Mindset Tuneup?

Combine Affirmations with Visualization

A mindset represents a set of beliefs or way of thinking that can determine your life.  We can choose our thoughts that we think, raise our energy and mindset to higher frequencies, as we affirm our heart’s desires.

You may have heard of the Law of Attraction and may have seen the movie “The Secret.”  It’s about the Quantum Theory that “like attracts like.”  For example, Love attracts more love.  If you act more loving and are thankful for the love in your life, more love seems to show up.  The same is true for prosperity.  Gratitude for prosperity creates more prosperity, even if you’re thankful for only having $100 in the bank.  Praise that 100 dollars instead of feeling bad about it.  That money will expand as you have an attitude of gratitude.   But also, if you have a lot of doubts or fear, fear attracts more fear and limitations.  Fear over a lack of money, blocks the flow.

We can help create our mindset by developing affirmations then visualize them into being.  A powerful “I am” statement is helpful, like “I am creating more wealth and prosperity.”  Keep it in the present tense and not “I want” or you’ll be kept in the “wanting state.” Write the affirmation down on a 3 x 5 card and repeat it often throughout the day.  Now, here’s where the real power comes in.  We have to FEEL and believe it’s here for you.  Let go of doubts or fears.  To do that, we need to close our eyes and do a brief visualization or Guided Imagery in which we see the manifestation of what we want.  The more you can see and feel this in all its glory, with all of your enthusiasm and in full-color detail, the more likely this will occur.

Consistency is important as well—keep the visualization going every day for 30 days at least or more.   The great athletes and Olympic stars often use visualization to reach their goals.   High-level executives and super achievers do this, as well.  You can, too, now that you know how to do it with impact.   Once you visualize and are thankful for what you most want, like great health, being fit, or enjoying more loving relations, then release it with gratitude to the universal power to make it happen.

Doing a mindset tune up may take ten minutes a day and is worthy of your time and attention.  Creative visualization and affirmations are a winning combination to expand your mind and power up your life!  One more thing–please share this blog post with your friends and connections.  And yes, I’m visualizing and grateful for you doing this now.

Wishing you peace!


Vicki Atlas is a Certified Guided Imagery Coach and Producer of original Guided Imagery programs and custom sessions: HeartTalkNow.com

Calm Your Anxiety: Transform Your Life

Scientists say we have fifty-thousand thoughts a day.  How many of these are empowering?  How many are full of worry, doubt, and fear?  For many of us, fearful thoughts lead to anxiety.    Best Selling Author Jack Canfield says the word F.E.A.R.  really stands for “False-Expectations-Appearing-Real.”  What if you could stop the fear-based fantasies from taking root?

I come from a long-line of worriers; I know about anxiety.  Lately, I practice meditation and other mind-body tools that have transformed my life.  Before my regular meditation practice, I would carry stress in my gut and have trouble sleeping.  I was ruminating over past or future events.  I was too much in my head and not enough in my heart, or experiencing life with a sense of ease.  I would also wake up in the middle of the night and not fall back to sleep.  This went on for years, until I began a regular practice of meditation and using Guided Imagery.

You probably know if you worry too much. Your mind races.  You fear losing money, your job, your health, or other disasters that are just around the corner.  An estimated 7 million Americans suffer with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a chronic condition. All of us know people who are “worriers.” Being in a constant state of anxiety can severely limit their health and well-being.

As mentioned, one aspect of anxiety is racing thoughts that won’t calm down. Meditation helps by quieting the overactive mind. Instead of running with your fearful thoughts, you may start noticing the monkey mind in action. Through regular practice, you see that you’re not simply your thoughts and feelings. You are the Observer.  You can detach yourself and watch from a more centered place–which is a sense of being more present.  If a thought or outside trigger pulls you out of your center, your meditation practice allows you to return to more calm.

Numerous research studies have found meditation to be effective for treating anxiety.  Yet, anxious people often shy away from meditation believing they cannot meditate because they have too many thoughts.  With a patient teacher, these objections can be overcome.  My guidance is to help these individuals experience stillness for just a few minutes at a time and slowly build up.   A great meditation technique is to close your eyes and imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart. As you breath in, think peace.  As you breath out, let go of tension.   At the same time, imagine a peaceful scene, maybe a peaceful blue lake in your mind’s eye.  Before you know it, you’ll be gaining more and more stillness.  Break through your anxiety… try meditation.

Wishing you peace!

Combining Meditation and Aerobics Reduces Depression

People suffering from depression may have a more holistic approach to try for treatment. Neuroscientists at Rutgers University have discovered a breakthrough combining Meditation with Aerobics.    Apparently mixing the two shows better results than either done alone.

The clinical intervention is the first of its kind to combine silent meditation with physical aerobics exercise.  Brain health and fitness, as well as psychological exams are given before and after the training program. The research team is led by Professors Tracey Shors and Brandon Alderman.   Having completed two clinical studies with MAP training—Mental and Physical Training—researches found scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) decreased by 40 percent in depressed students.  The participants also showed increases in neuron activity in the brain and reported they were less likely to ruminate about the past or a trauma.

This is how they conducted the study:  participants would practice 20 minutes of silent meditation, followed by 10 minutes of walking meditation, and then 30 minutes of aerobics.  This was done twice a week for 8 weeks, or a total of 16 sessions with these results.  They found depressed students felt much less depressed and more hopeful about their future.

This sounds like a great approach to consider if you suffer from Depression or the blues and see if you find improvement to your symptoms, as well.

Wishing you Peace!

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