Tag Archives: yoga

There’s no time like the present to be present

Have you ever promised yourself you’ll be more present? And then gone on to be pulled away from the moment you’re in?

It happens to me all the time.

My childhood was pretty much an exercise in learning not to be present. I was taught to “pay indemnity” (to suffer for God) in order to absolve my ancestors of their many failings and sins and to protect my descendants from having to suffer to atone for my failings and sins. That certainly trains one to focus on the past and future, and to see the present only as an opportunity to endure anything and everything for God.

My childhood experiences also taught me to over-everything. My overachieving, over-sweetness, over-tolerance, and over-responsibility probably helped save my life and psyche. But all those overs are certainly one more way to pull me away from what is here and now.

My childhood in a cult with my mom, the instability of the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle of my dad, and the clash of cultures from being stuck between them certainly molded me into my hyper-vigilant and hyper-reactive self. All of this, perhaps needless to say, pulls one away from the present. And away from the present again.

So, when my yoga instructor instructed us in this thought, perhaps, again needless to say, a huge smile came to my face. “There’s no time like the present to be present,” she said. “There’s no time like now to be more present,” I thought.

There are so many distractions to pull me out of my moment. There are so many things to worry about and think about and obsess about. Or there are my feet on the ground – and during my yoga class, my body on my mat – to pull me back to now.

There’s no time like the present to get present again. And again. And again. There’s no time like this instant to breathe consciously and focus on my now. To see what’s actually in front of me, to calm my racing mind, to notice and appreciate.

I may have been, in many ways, taught and trained to stay as far out of the present as possible. I may have escaped my reality in order to feel safer, or more in control, or less sinful. But I don’t have to escape anymore. I am safe.

And I can be present. Because there’s no time like the present to be present.

PS – if you’re practicing yoga, and looking for a new mat, I’ve stumbled across this list of the best yoga mats. Perhaps it will help you ☺

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , Tags:

Just breathe

Again yoga. Again a learning. A huge learning. A duh-uh learning, but huge nonetheless.

I’m not sure if the instructor said it, or if I just thought it. But all of a sudden, as I “worked through” a pose, “just breathe” popped into my mind.

Like, just breathe. Like, you don’t have to do anything other than breathe.

I didn’t have to work through, or into, a pose. I didn’t have to move to get into the perfect stance or to fix my alignment. I didn’t have to keep fixing, and fixing, and fixing the positioning of my limbs.

All I had to do was breathe. And breathe again. I know it’s quite simple, but it felt revolutionary when I realized it.

Then I realized that “just breathe” applied to the rest of my life as well, not just my yoga. I don’t have to work through, or figure out, anything. I don’t have to move to get into the perfect attitude or to fix my mindset. I don’t have to keep fixing, and fixing, and fixing…anything.

All I have to do is breathe. And breathe again.

I don’t think this should have been so astounding when it popped into my mind. After decades or healing and working on myself. After decades of letting go of old tapes and learning new ways. After decades of finding ways to ease and slow down and live in love and joy. You think I would have gotten this already.

And maybe I have. But somehow, today in yoga, it loomed even larger, and I got it even more.

All I have to do is breathe. And breathe again. And breathe again.

Just breathe.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Everything counts

It seems that my yoga instructors are hell-bent on reminding me of life’s guidelines. Just the other day, the instructor reminded me (us) that everything counts.

Every thing counts. Every breath I take is an opportunity to breathe deeply and breathe in joy and love. Or to miss it. Every yoga pose is a chance to build my mental, physical and emotional muscles, as is, actually, every moment in my day. Every transition – from yoga pose to yoga pose or mundane activity to mundane activity – has the possibility to teach me more, ground me more, help me remember what I want to remember more.

I don’t mean to put added pressure on myself to always be on. I don’t want to put such emphasis on being present and aware that I’m mad at myself when I’m not present and aware. I don’t what to use my humanity as an excuse to beat myself up.

But I do want to remember that I can let every moment be a moment that matters. I can choose to enjoy the moment I’m in, learn from the experience in front of me, and suck the life juices out of my life – and my day.

I don’t have to let it be pressure; I don’t have to let it pile on stress. But I can show up as much as possible in every moment possible. The stranger on the street? I can smile and say hello and have a human connection. The wait for the delayed train? I can read something I want to read or text someone I want to connect with or just be in the moment with nothing to do but breathe and look around. The blog post I’m writing? I can pour my heart into it. Or I can decide to practice doing this thing less than perfectly and let whatever I write be enough.

Each moment, each task, each encounter, each space and to-do in my life is an opportunity. Because everything counts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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