The Beauty of Now

How often do we judge our limitations (or abilities) based on past experience?  How much time do we spend on plans or worries about the future?  Below, I'm sharing a quote really hit home for me.  One of the most importance aspects of our yoga & meditation practice is to bring ourselves out of the stories that we have created about the past and future.  Learning to enjoy the present moment can change our current lives for the better, and make space for a more promising future.

Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.
— BKS Iyengar

In my teens and early 20's I used to get to the now by running.  Putting one foot in front of the other allowed me to find space between my thoughts.  A little later I found the same feeling in a sweaty vinyasa class, then in the stillness of an alignment based hatha class, and finally in meditation.  Finding the present moment started out during and at the end of my runs.  It always took at least 2 miles to get into that good space in my head, I was no longer in the past or the future, I was simply putting one foot in front of the other.  As a sweaty post run mess laying on the floor, I found space between my thoughts.  This may have been my first taste of savasana (the resting pose at the end of a yoga class).

Take the time to notice and experience the beauty of now in your yoga (or meditation) practice.  On and off the mat, releasing expectations based on past performance or idealistic future goals can rob you of simple joys.  Maybe your ______ isn't perfect (home, job, pose, body), but is there really any such thing?  Can you make a promise to stop labeling things?  Is it possible to dwell on the good things that you'd like to celebrate rather than the things that used to be, or the things that you wish were different?  

Maybe you can even expand that idea to those around you.  You can start by finding common ground with those you interact with on a daily basis.  Take a moment to smile at a stranger, make small talk with the barista at the coffee shop, leave a special (anonymous) treat for a coworker who needs a mood boost.  Just imagine how wonderful it would be if you could see the beauty in everyone that you meet.  Wouldn't your attitude shape your entire world?

Your body exists in the past, your mind exists in the future, but isn't the now wide open to possibilities?  Expand rather than contract, smile rather than worry, seek a balance between comfort and effort.  Find the beauty of now, and the next now, and the next now... the now really can be wonderful!

Namaste - Beth



Self Talk in Your Yoga Practice

Self talk can influence our yoga practice, personal life, business relationships, and sense of fulfillment.  This interview  with Michael Sutton and Dena Breslin introduces ideas about where our self talk comes from, and who put those phrases in our heads.  

Your thoughts may seem perfectly normal and reasonable to you, but could you be more positive?  The Mayo Clinic  states that positive thinkers experience greater resistance to the common cold, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, increased life span, reduced levels of distress and depression, and better well being.  

One of the types of negative self thought that the mayo clinic mentioned in the above link is polarization.  This commonly occurs in yoga practice.  When the instructor cues a choice between child's pose and downward facing dog, do you take downdog just because you want to do the harder (self labeled better) pose?  Do you compare your practice to other's practices?  Do you shy away from the restorative class because it's "better" to turn your yoga class into a "workout"?  

If any of this seems familiar, you need turn inward, and turn off those thoughts.  There aren't good or bad poses.  A yoga or meditation practice is a great way to begin to give the voices in your head a break.  Don't judge yourself or the poses (we all have favorites, but try to approach them all with joy, strength, and ease).  Once you find success during your practice, it will begin to influence the rest of your life.  

Tao Porchon-Lynch is a 96 year old yoga instructor who doesn't believe in age, and really embodies positivity.  I really love her thoughts on self talk.  "Whatever you put in your mind materializes.  So if you put negative thoughts, you draw toward you negative things.  So be positive, just look for good."

Our minds tend to filter out things and label them as good or bad.  What if we could experience our practices and our lives and really see more of the positivity and beauty?  The world is a beautiful place, and our practices are all beautiful as they are.  We just have to open up our eyes and see them that way.  Embrace the good, soften the edges in your body and mind, and enjoy each moment.  Just look for good!

Namaste - Beth