Present Yourself!

I posted a poll on the blog recently and it turns out staying in the present moment is one of the more difficult parts of yoga for a few of us! I looked around online a bit for ideas to staying in the present, one idea stood out. Do each action for the joy of the action, rather than a further result. For example, take joy in each dish you clean, rather than seeking a clean kitchen to feel good. If you work in the garden, select several tasks. Recently a yoga teacher shared a pearl of wisdom from her teacher, "anything worth doing at all is worth doing well". And worth enjoying I would add!!

The other day I was teaching yoga class and of course thinking ahead a bit (you sorta have to as a teach) and it was funny because it occurred to me that teaching yoga may actually be contrary to the goal (of yoga) to stay in the present. I do think teachers should take classes too, it's a 180 degree different experience! One blog I follow is a yogini that lives in Germany, most of her practice is personal, but she occasionally attends a class she calls, a led class. I like that, led. She enjoyed the group energy and interaction, which I think is one major benefit of coming together with others to explore yoga. It's at once a personal and connective experience. However, it's not the same as a shot at personal practice. Whenever I practice yoga alone, I am stunned by the experience as it guides itself.

I recall somewhere a teacher said to a yoga class I took (at the end), "coming back to the group, or if you prefer, not coming back to the group at all". I liked it, very free flow, I could have stayed curled in a ball til the others left. I'm not that advanced yet in my personal practice (or maybe it just seemed too individualistic) so I went with returning to the group, but it was cool that she threw it out there.

So honestly why the heck should we even try to stay in the present moment? After all it's very fleeting! Maybe because the past and future can be so difficult for our souls to bear. Old memories kindle, the future looms up as we try to lasso it and whip it into some kinda shape, basically we have no control in the past and future. The past cannot change, the future inevitably will. I've known a person or two that seemed perpetually upset because they wanted to control their life to the nth degree. I am sad for people that feel that way. A dent in the car or burnt cookies sets off rage and upset of epic proportions. We all have our moments of course, but for some they're having these moments real often and it's definitely not good for the health!

Some of the coolest experiences of my life have been totally the unknown. Living in Spain for a year (I came back 7 years ago today, happy fourth y'all,I think that was a Sunday too, how funny, oops I'm receding into the past Laura K!) was totally unpredictable and it was delightful. College. Australia. Teaching. All unknown avenues to embrace with my best effort. So, if we can somehow practice floating around in the present, maybe all of our greatest disappointments, hopes, fears, and pressures lift off of our souls and they can simply soar. Light but powerful, at peace in asanas, perhaps our soul adjusts and stretches out with this heavy load floating elsewhere. As we return to our typical state, the load is shifted, smaller, more manageable, and definitely easier to shoulder. So, please, give yourself a break and find the present. This could be in yoga or some other activity that takes your concentration to the here and now. A few that work for me besides yoga are: swimming laps, reading a great book, laying by a pool with some music, riding in the car with my husband on a trip, and gardening. Think of any activity in which time flies for you. I think children have an easier time with this, we adults must work a little to return to it, but it's definitely doable.

Here's to finding these Narnia closets to our present, they are different for each of us, and may even change during our lifetime but they are lovely and worth the search. One final quote I saw somewhere recently. "Why do they call it the present? Because it is a gift."


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