Transitions: A Practice in Presence

By December 10, 2016 No Comments

More and more being in the present moment seems to be the best way to move through life. What’s become apparent in today’s world is that when life becomes uncertain, we can find ways to avoid those feelings of anxiety about the future. Rather than grabbing the phone, what if we just stayed still with the emotions. What if we were mindful of our thoughts, feelings and sensations in the body, but didn’t grab the phone to distract or numb away those feelings.

Transitions are changes, and sometimes changes can be very scary. We want to hold onto certainty. Yoga is good for practicing the skills needed to stay present and mindful. We can turn to our yoga to practice as a model when we change the way we do a set of sequences.

We can become numb to the intricacies of the present moment as we lose ourselves in thought and just go through the motions, in a type of automatic pilot. How many times have you been driving your car and ended up someplace without remembering the journey? I have. And it’s because I haven’t been present. I’ve either been thinking or worrying about something that already happened, or I’be been planning or anticipating something in the future.

This can happen in yoga, too, especially through a series of traditional sun salutations. Here I am on my mat, with strong intentions to be here in my body, breathing in and breathing out, and all of a sudden I’m someplace else, not connected to my body, not in the moment, worrying about a missed opportunity, or planning my to do list, but still moving through the sequence.

Transitions, in yoga, and in life, are an asana in and of themselves, which is why I appreciated Vicki’s class so much today. She really emphasized the preparation for the transition, as you would prepare for the actual asana. How often do I jump to the next posture in my head, losing my connection to the posture I’m actually in.

Yoga is a practice on the mat that prepares us for our life off the mat. Being so conscious of the moments in one posture before moving to the next became the practice, and it is a really important one for me to pay attention to as I prepare for my trip to Burma to teach the nuns. With such a big change coming in the near future, I need to make sure I’m still living my life here today, not in constant anticipation and planning for the future. The transition to the journey is just as much the journey as the journey itself. That’s what yoga teaches us. Or more simply, “Be here now.”

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