Yoga Tips to Help You “Be Present”

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One of the major tenets of yoga is the cultivation of awareness, of being able to “live in the now.” When we’re in a yoga class, our instructor, our fellow students and the studio environment foster the ability to “be present.” We’re constantly reminded to return our attention to the present moment, to let go of all thoughts outside of the class and to let ourselves simply “be.”

But how can we continue to hold that attention and focus once we step out the studio door? How do we stop our to-do lists, our work deadlines, our family commitments and the rest of our mental chatter from taking over our minds?

Here are four tips to keep your attention rooted in the present, both on and off the mat.

Notice the Breath
In yoga, the breath is perceived as the bridge between the body and the mind. When we’re aware of our breath and can concentrate wholly on our inhalation and exhalation, we can turn our focus quickly back to the present moment. When we notice our breath, we can calm our minds and bring ourselves back into our bodies.

Observe the Mind
Our minds are rarely still, which is why in yoga the mind is often referred to as the “monkey mind.” Thoughts will continually come into our heads and our minds will be full of chatter. But when we’re able to observe these thoughts and acknowledge them without attaching weight to them, we can remain in the present moment.

Be in Your Body
An awareness of the body, and what we feel through our senses, is key to staying present. When we’re physically engaged with our body and the way we interact with the world around us we’re able to experience life as it happens from moment to moment.

Let Go
If we dwell on things that have happened to us or worry about what could transpire in the days or weeks to come, our minds are living in the past or future. By letting go of past experiences and not obsessing over future developments, we make our choices rooted firmly in the now.

Annabel Fitzsimmons is a freelance writer, runner, yoga and Pilates teacher and a mother of two young children. She blogs — as MeditatingMummy — about taking yoga off the mat and into motherhood.

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