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

 

 

New Year Mindfulness

As we leave 2015 behind and enter 2016, many people will be creating New Year's Resolutions, things they intend to accomplish within the next year.  I am not against setting intentionsor starting new projects, but I'm not writing another blog about resolutions either.

So much of our time is spent dwelling in the past, or worrying about/planning for the future.  Why not take some time to be mindful, and just "be here now"?  Unsure how to even start living in the present moment?  Here are a few ideas to get you started.  

  1. Put your phone/ipad/laptop down!  How can you be in the present moment if you are busy becoming of one mind with an electronic device?
  2. Find a quiet space and close your eyes.  Listen to the sound of your breath, try to feel the thumping of your beating heart.  
  3. Try some yogic breath work (pranayama).  My students are exposed to this during each and every class and their current favorite  for stress relief is alternate nostril breath.  I'm including a video link to the right.
  4. Take a walk in nature.  Smell the smells outside, listen to the sound of the wind blowing or the stream moving.  Feel the fresh air on your face.  
  5. Quietly enjoy a cup of hot tea.  Don't do anything but experience the smells, taste, and temperature of the tea.
  6. Warm up with a quiet, hot bath or spend some time in front of a cozy fire.
  7. Join a meditation group. 

Now I will head out to gather food to mindfully prepare dinner.  How can you fit a little more mindfulness into your life?  How can you "be here now"?

Namaste - Beth