In the Moment – The Art of Yoga
Are you a long-time yoga practitioner? You probably know then that much of yoga is awareness training – practising to be in the here and now. When we’re doing asanas, we’re working with the vehicle of the body, but harnessing the mind at the same time. One of the indirect benefits of this sort of discipline is reducing tension, simply by noticing it.
Here’s some of my favourite tips for keeping myself in the moment:
• Stop trying to do more than one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is much over-rated. You may save time but end up doing several things in a mechanical or mediocre manner. Why create stress in your life by trying to keep all those plates spinning, when some of them are likely to end up on the floor? One of the limbs of the yoga tree is dharana, concentration. When this is cultivated, it fosters composure, self-assurance and well-being.
• Bring the attentiveness and patience that you develop in your yoga practice into your relationships. When you’re with someone, whether they be the people who serve you at the supermarket or your significant other, give them your full attention. One of the greatest gifts you can give a person is your careful listening.
• Mundane activities are the biggest test for our ability to stay in the now. Driving a familiar route, are you aware of what you see along the road, or are you stuck in a reverie or internal dialogue. Eating a meal, can you taste flavours, savour aromas, take in the presentation of the food?
• Be here now. Do you work from home? Do the lines blur between the times you are working and the times when you check personal emails or look at Facebook? Vague-ing out can happen when you’re in your yoga practice too. You may suddenly notice that you got up to make yourself a cup of tea or you were taking what was going to be just a quick phone call, and you’ve abandoned your practice. To avoid these lapses, set strict time and space boundaries for yourself and stick to them.
• If, from time to time, you find you’ve slipped into obsessive thinking, throw yourself into something that demands your full attention: detailed work, physical labour, or strong yoga practice.
• Sometimes you just cannot concentrate, no matter what tools you conjure up. Check to see whether you believe what you’re doing is worthy of your time and attention. If not, you might be sabotaging your best efforts.
When you pay attention to what is going on in your environment, what you are working on, to the people in your circle, you’ll find that you are more vital and that your life will be immeasurably enriched by the everyday miracles you encounter.