PRACTICE Presence to Be Present

“Yoga has to be practised without distress, anxiety or fear, so that one can reach the zenith in yoga” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

I was recently sitting outside, chasing the sun, seeking the exact angle to align myself with the acute sliver of direct sunlight to penetrate my backache. For several minutes, that line of fire infused the inflamed muscles down my back. And it was insta-therapy, vitamin-D charged rays with immediate healing powers…so it seemed. Our sun warms our planet every day, provides the light by which we see, and is a necessary power for life and growth on earth. However, there is still one more supre power the sun has over our entire universe – it is constantly in a present state.

One of the first, and arguably, the most significant messages we are taught in yoga, comes from the sacred yoga text, Patanjali’s Sutras. These teachings are from ancient days, and contain 196 aphorisms that, when dissected, one might find, are still relevant and speak to our needs and challenges today. The most important message comes to us right at the onset of the book. The single most fundamental principle that has been handed down to us, and still proves to be sound advice in the 21st century: Be here now. Just like the constant state of the sun, be present and awake in everything you do.

I personally have dabbled in and out of studying the Yoga Sutras, truth be told. It is easy to skim over, gloss through, and perhaps even bypass some of the messages, as we experience yoga in a modern setting. However, I have been reintroduced to this simple, yet also difficult, idea to follow. When one dives deeper into a yoga practice, past the postures (asana), into breath work (pranayama), with focused meditation (Dhyana), the yoga sutras seem to make more sense and a feeling of the inner spirit is ignited. The power of NOW is one of the deepest insights of this spiritual practice. Now is only right now and never again. See it, feel it, taste it, first-hand, in real time.

It is all well and good to find a prayer, a mantra, or a belief system to help guide us through our lives, but with the plethora of today’s choices, finding our way can feel more like a cyclone of anxiety and fear. The pressures that exist affect our children as well our own futures, are interruptive in making it through another day often with ease and comfort.This stress is best addressed and removed when we can physically, emotionally, and spiritually be in our now.

Today, ‘being in the now’ can feel like one of the most difficult challenges in the era of multitasking and instantaneous gratification. So, what can we do to achieve being in the present? Do not define yourself by your thoughts. Take advantage of time and make the most of it, even if losing track of time is a byproduct. And engage in mindfulness. Mindfulness isn’t a goal, as goals are about the future, but simply, it is about setting the intention of paying attention to what’s happening now. Once you can commit to the NOW, then the magic of will, desire, and respite will present itself, in each given moment. Namaste