Before you read this, let me ask you a question. How many activities are going on around you? Is the TV on? Do you have multiple tabs open on your computer? Are there conversations going on (either in person or electronically) that require your attention? Do you have kids or a dog running around? If you answered no to all of these questions…well, I’m coming over to hang out.
We spend so much of our lives with split attention–especially this time of year as we prepare for the Holidays, which inevitably involve trips, travels, family and food prep. It’s so easy to feel like a successful day is one in which we complete the most tasks in the least amount of time.
But my dear friend Troy reminded me lately that my yoga practice is a perfect opportunity to break that mold. After his class last week he talked about the benefit of slowing down. We were speaking strictly about yoga–staying with a pose long enough to see what it brings up. Oftentimes I find in a vinyasa class, I’m in such a hurry to move to the next pose that I overlook what is occurring in the present moment. But when Troy had us milk the poses in his class, I really started to feel certain areas open up and recognize the areas that were more resistant.
And here is where my two dots connected. I spend so much of my life jumping from one thing to the next, that I don’t know if I’m ever truly present in the present! I finish people’s sentences because I’m eager to talk; I send text messages while I walk or drive; I never have fewer than 6 tabs open on my computer at one time; I eat while I drive while I talk on the phone while I listen to the radio while I check off my to do list while I plan my next errand while I put on chapstick…you get the point. No wonder I feel like I’m going crazy sometimes. I’m lucky to not be lying in a ditch!
So today I tried slowing down and being present. To be honest, it wasn’t dramatic. But I started to notice little things that normally would slip through the cracks. On Dexter there are 12 trees with yellow leaves and one right in the middle is completly red; my banker has amazing green eyes; my left knee has a bit of a hiccup in its giddyup; I have really amazing people in my life. I hate to admit that these are things that I don’t often attend to. I might even go as fas as to say that I take them for granted.
Hopefully this isn’t something you can relate to, but in all likelihood, it is to some degree. So here is my challenge: whether or not you practice yogasana (the physical poses of yoga) you can still practice the most important lesson that yoga teaches–presence. Practice presence with your thoughts. Practice presence with your family. Practice presence with your workouts or asana. Practice presence while you walk, jog, bike or even drive. Rely on your senses. What does the outside air smell like this time of year? Look at the colors around you–the fall provides such a vibrant pallet. Enjoy a rich meal. Pick out individual flavors and take your time. What sounds surround you? How often do you actually experience silence?
We may DO a lot of the things on our list. But how many things do we miss in our every day lives because we are so eager to move on to the next thing? There is so much going on that we are unaware of. So slow down, ease off and tune in. It may be the hardest thing you are asked to do all day, but I guarantee you it’s the greatest gift.