The Gift of Being Present
As the Holiday season comes into full swing it is easy to be overwhelmed, preoccupied or anxious. It’s not just during the holidays though. Life is a dynamic process that can require a lot of thought, action and change. In life, it’s easy to get carried away overthinking about things that have happened or things that have yet to happen. Dwelling on the past or fretting over the future are extremely common to almost everyone. “Why did I say that?” “What if I had done that differently?” “What if this happens?” “What if I can’t do that?” Questions like these can cause so much anxiety and eat away at you. It is definitely important to learn from the past and plan for the future, but when those thoughts keep you from being present in the moment you won’t be able to fully appreciate the gift of the here and now.
There is a quote that state’s, “The past is history, the future is a mystery and now is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” When we don’t allow ourselves to be present by thinking too much about other things that are going on around us, have gone on in the past or have yet to happen in the future, we deprive ourselves of the great and amazing gift of the here and now.
Going to Yoga Time studio or making time at home to practice yoga and/or barre are great ways to practice being present. It really can be a practice though! Being present throughout an entire class can be extremely difficult. It’s easy to let your mind wonder, to think about what posture is coming next, errands you need to run after class, what you’re going to make for dinner, on and on and on. It takes practice (constant practice) and mindfulness to realize when this is happening and to pull yourself back to the present. In Aldous Huxley’s book, Island (one of my favorite books, which I totally recommend reading if you haven’t) there are myna birds on the fictional utopian island of Pala who are trained to say “attention” and “here and now boys” to remind the island inhabits to be present and live in the here and now. In our lives and especially on our mats, we need to be our own myna birds and remind ourselves to pay attention to the here and now.
Focusing just on the here and now and being completely present isn’t really possible 100% of the time, unless you’re a monk or something. However, carving out a dedicated part of your day to be completely present in the moment can be a great way to calm anxiety, relax and bring gratitude and appreciation into your life. Yoga and meditation is a great way to do this. Focusing on your breath and having that be your sole focus, to be fully in the moment just being and breathing is a blissful experience. In moments like that you don’t have any anxiety over work, school or your home life. It’s doesn’t matter if you haven’t finished a project or if you need to go to the store or if you are upset with someone. All that matters is that you are on a mat breathing, fully and blissfully living and paying attention to the here and now.
This holiday season, and every day of your life, remember to give yourself the gift of being present!
Happy Holidays and Happy Practicing!