You’re standing on your mat in Tadasana, you feel a trickle of sweat drip down from your forehead , past your cheek and onto your chin. You notice how solid your feet feel planted on the mat and you feel blissfully unaware of everything outside the perimeter of your mat.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
You feel oddly focused and free all at the same time. Suddenly your mind starts to wander, you’re compiling lists of the tasks you still need to complete today. You plan to run home after class and stop by the shops, you start listing out the items you need and you find yourself miles away from the bliss of your mat…
We’ve all been there, that blissful ignorance of what’s happening around us. The freedom of simply being exactly where you are…you have it for a split second and then it’s suddenly gone…
Sometimes it’s a fleeting moment, other times you feel so grounded it lasts for ages.
Cultivating presence helps us to tune into our bodies on the mat so we can make the most out of our practice and it teaches us how to be less stuck in our heads to that we can appreciate the world around us more.
When we are able to stop the compulsion of over thinking, we feel less stressed, more centred and able to navigate ourselves through our days with ease and grace.
So how do you bring a little bit more of this awareness into your everyday life.
One. Focus on your breath.
Grounding ourselves IN our bodies is the quickest and often easiest way to be reminded of where we are physically at which directs us to the present. Mindfulness is a form of meditation and focusing on your breath helps you to feel more calm and distance yourself from the unhelpful thoughts.
Two. Thank your mind
When you notice yourself getting caught up in a thought or a worry ask yourself “is this helpful”. If the thought is actually bringing up a concern that is plausible or likely to happen then the thought is helpful.
If it’s bringing up something that is beyond your control or not likely to happen thank your mind for it’s concern and then bring your attention back to your breath.
Three. Practice being a Witness
Take a step back to become aware of exactly what you are doing. This can be as simple as consciously saying to yourself ‘I’m washing the dishes’, ‘I’m walking to work’ or ‘I’m stepping onto my yoga mat’.
Observe the thought and step away from it (by naming it) at the same time.
Practicing these three tips takes moments to do but it gives us the ability to develop what’s called “psychological flexibility” – the ability to be present, open up and do what really matters to you.
By Elise Danielle
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