For my yoga teacher training, I’ve started to read this book called “The Heart of Yoga” in which they explain to you what’s at the base of yoga, where yoga comes from and what it is important when you practice asanas (postures). One important thing is pranayama (breath), the other is be present. I’m still struggling a little bit with the first one but practice after practice I bring more and more awareness to my breath connected to my movements.
The second one, be present, let’s say it with not yogi’s terms, is a pain in the ass. Not because is something that I don’t believe in, but because it is something I really struggle with. We live in a society that wants us to know what we are going to do with our lives since we are teenagers. We live in a world in which our past will always haunt us. We focus on the yesterdays, on the tomorrows, but never on the today. So, how is it possible to bring awareness to the present? I don’t know.
Every time that I lay on the mat in my savasana at the end of the practice, my mind inevitably goes back to where it was one hour before. I don’t think of anything when I practice, while I’m twisted in weird poses, my mind doesn’t think of my life outside of the studio’s walls. When it comes to the “easiest” asana my mind takes back its control and it wanders. Just when the teacher says to be present, I try to control it and I repeat mentally: “be present, be present, be present,” until my thoughts slip in again.
Why is it so difficult to leave everything out? Why can’t I stop thinking of a particular conversation? Why can’t I stop worrying about how much money I have in my account? Why can’t I stop wondering if that thing would have gone that way maybe the other thing wouldn’t have happened. In our daily life, we are overwhelmed by information, thoughts, and discussions.
Now, think of the last moment that you actually stopped and realized that you were present, you were there and you weren’t thinking of your next step.
My last memory of a moment like that was when I was at the Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. I told myself that that natural beauty needed to be experienced at its full. I put aside the camera and I just enjoyed the moment. That happened almost a year ago.
In my yoga practice, I try to bring that awareness back but it’s not always easy, most of all not when you need to stop your brain for an hour in the middle of the day. It’s hard, but I guess with the same practice that I put in my body, with asanas and pranayama, I can teach my mind to be more present, more here. The problem is that is not something I should just apply to that hour in the studio, but it is something that I should try to do every single day. Enjoy the moment, don’t worry about that heavy rock on my chest that is my future.