"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."
As we set our intentions and move through our asanas, we focus on the breath and the movements of our body. One of the things that initially attracted me to yoga was the fact that I'm a little bit ADD and obsessive compulsive. Our modern world seems to whirl around at 90 miles per hour most days, and it's hard to focus on the matter at hand without simultaneously anticipating the next event. Yoga has allowed me, for even for just an hour at a time, to slow down long enough to truly take my mind off of anything other than simply movement and my breath. This aspect of yoga has been something that has kept me returning to class for years.
Sometimes, our past seems so endless and our future is so uncertain that it is difficult for us to focus on the here and now. For me, yoga has provided me with the proper tools so that I can carry the practice of staying in the present to other areas of my life. On many of my "busy days" when my to-do list seems endless and I am running all over the place, I have learned it is helpful (for my peace of mind, at least) to step back for a moment and enjoy the scenery! Literally! I will take a deep inhale and exhale and see if I can't find a little bit of beauty in my current surroundings — even if it's just the tip of a leaf on a faraway tree outside of a window.
Practicing gratitude, you will find, goes hand-in-hand with practicing living in the present moment. It's easy to get caught up in the "haves" and "have nots" as we wander through life. We beat ourselves up over the slightest imperfections rather than spending time pondering the wonders of all that we DO have! And what is the purpose of meditation if not to simply be? A large part of being is the present tense. When I first started to practice meditation, it was simply at the end of yoga class, laying in shavasana. For many of us yogis, this is not uncommon. It was in this restful state that the sea of worried and rushed thoughts would flood back into my consciousness. At first, I would beat myself up over these thoughts. Then I remember: I am human. A human, unlike other creatures of this earth, knows exactly what day, month, year it is. We are constantly looking at our watch, meeting deadlines, and showing up on time. Ponder the dog: he is perfectly content to sit for hours on end. He is never early or late. He does not check his watch. The burden of time comes along with the burden of being a human. Call my thoughts obsessive, label me a worrywart (I am), but I cannot bear the burden of these things which come so naturally to me. So I allow myself to observe the chatter in between my ears. Then I consciously and easily let them go. There are not enough hours in the day to reward each passing thought. Today, I will live in the present.
Yoga has gifted me with many precious rewards, one of which is my ability to live in this manner. For once, I have peace in my life. How has yoga helped you to get things go and concentrate on today?