Children live in the present moment most of the time, through the day their bodies and mind flow seamlessly. They have a thought and their body reacts simultaneously – present moment reality unfolding moment by moment. Their past has been short and their future is unknown. As we age staying present becomes more and more difficult, our past is extensive our future appears predictable.
So how do you know you are, or are not, living in the present moment? The present moment feels peaceful, authentic and free. The present moment unfolds moment by moment with infinite creative possibilities! In the present moment our mind and body work together harmoniously and health abounds. You will know when you’re not living in the present moment when you feel stuck, worry and anxiety filling the mind- the body reacts with imbalance.
In a yoga class our bodies are challenged to hold asana (postures) and suddenly thoughts flood the mind. Buddhist call these thoughts Monkey Mind (restless thoughts that jump around like a monkey). These thoughts are natural. Sticky thoughts that come to our mind during Yoga or meditation are helpful. These thoughts are the beginning stages of your body processing stress. Once we realize we are “thinking” in Yoga class we need to return attention to breath and asana choosing to focus our attention is what creates the meditation.
Throughout Yoga class we also have opportunities to go completely inactive. Our bodies come to a place of stillness, for example in Savasana (Corpse pose) in which we lie on our backs and close our eyes. We are not sleeping. In fact our awareness of the present moment is heightened as we consciously still all muscle activity. We are challenged to go from activity to inactivity. My daughter goes from playing actively with her friends to concentrating on her math… to eating… to resting… to sleeping… her only experience is the present moment. This is what we do as we flow from one asana to another in our yoga class, breathing rhythmically our mind is still but acutely aware of the present.
Yoga students often remark that Yoga class goes by so quickly. Perhaps it is because they are actually staying more present to the present. Unlike other forms of exercise when the clock becomes an enemy, in a yoga class clocks are usually not visible. Going to a yoga class takes us off of the treadmill figuratively and literally. Take a journey whilst reading this blog, observe how your body feels. Set an inner soft intention to let go of any tension and external thoughts. Soften your jaw. Release all facial expression. Notice your breath at the tip of your nose. Notice where you are. Notice your computer, your clothes, the light in the room. What do you actually see in front of you? As Ram Dass wrote, “be here now”. Here in the present moment you realize that a New Year is unfolding every moment of your life.
Affirmation: I am present and aware of this moment it is full and it is great.