Looking back on the first few yoga classes I took it's safe to say I spent most of my time confused. Not about the physical practice. I had the poses figured out (or at least I thought I did). It was the mental side of the practice that at first, didn't seem to make sense.
The teacher would tell me to 'be in the moment' and I would think to myself: Well, yah, obviously. I'm here. I'm in the room. Where do you think I am, teacher?
I would hear the words 'land in your body' and I'd think: Land in my body? What does that even mean. I live in my body. How can I land in it?
Eventually I realized that all that inner dialogue was exactly what the teacher was encouraging me to stop. I was NOT present. One moment I was overanalyzing what the teacher said, the next I was fretting about the work I had to get done, then before I knew it, I was reliving some anxiety-ridden moment from the year before.
I wasn't landing in the moment because I was constantly having a conversation in my head.
This definitely wasn't a new habit I'd picked up just for my yoga practice. Until that point, I'd lived most of my life from my head without even knowing it - overthinking, overanalyzing and worrying about every little thing. It took finding yoga and practicing it a lot to even wrap my worried little mind around the idea of presence. That was almost 10 years ago, and to this day, every time I hit my mat, I struggle between landing in the moment and wandering off in my head.
That's what this practice is for me, an opportunity to bring my body and my mind into the same place, at the same time.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone only to realize that you have no idea what they just said? It's okay, we all do it.
Have you ever been sitting at work getting nothing done because your mind is fixated on that fight you got in with your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/parents last night?
Have you ever pulled into the driveway after a long day and realized that you don't even remember the drive home?
All these scenarios have on thing in common: you weren't present. You were in your head, thinking about something that wasn't actually happening in that moment.
Presence. It's one of the driving forces behind why I practice and why I teach. The more time we spend in the moment, the better off we'll all be. Take some time this week to notice (whether you're on a yoga mat or not) if your mind is actually where your body is.
You might realize - like I did - that you spend pretty much your whole life in your head. If that's the case, don't get discouraged. It's a powerful place to be. With the awareness that you're not present, you've got an opportunity that you didn't even know was available to you before:
You can come back to the moment.
Just like that. Again and Again.
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