How to be present

This afternoon, when I walked into the hot room to set up my mat, there was a girl on her mat, playing with her phone. Now, I don’t know what she was doing, or who she was talking to, but it struck me as odd. Why would you bring your phone onto your mat? True, there were ten minutes left until class started, but what happened to laying on your back, closing your eyes and just being?

I’m not judging, and I’m not always present during my practice. I do sometimes pick out what I’ll be wearing tomrrow (striped shirt with the pink bow) or decide what to eat after class. I just think it’s too bad that people can’t be with themselves for ten minutes.

Here are my tips for being present before, during, and after your practice, so that you get the most out of it.

1. Set an intention

Take a moment to think about why you’re practicing. Do you need to de-stress or relax? Do you need to move some energy around? I usually intend to find joy during my practice. What brings me joy will depend on the day I’ve had, so my practice is always different. Come back to your intention a few times, and it will help keep you present.

2. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want

If you tell yourself you’ll focus on your breathing, you’ll have a much better chance of actually doing it than if you keep telling yourself you’re not going to think about work, or that fight you had, or that person who drives you crazy. Help your mind out a little.

3. Don’t worry about it

If your mind wanders, don’t beat yourself up. Just come back to your practice. It might happen 12 times in one minute, then maybe 7 times, then 3, then 1. Eventually, you’ll get a minute where you are totally focused on your practice and your breathing and it will be perfect. If you catch yourself thinking about how perfect that minute was instead of your breath, don’t worry, just come back to it.

4. Know that every day is different

Yoga is different every time you practice. Your mind and your body are not the same from day to day, so you can’t expect your practice to be either. Maybe you had that perfect minute yesterday, but it’s nowhere to be found today. No worries, you can still find joy. Try again tomorrow.

5. Don’t bring your phone onto your mat

You know. Just don’t.

Now see how many of these you can apply to your life off the mat. Breathe. Be present. Find joy. Don’t worry. Let go of your phone.

just breathe

From a place of love and joy

Before I started my yoga teacher training, I thought I would be writing about it almost every day and sharing all the new stuff I discovered.

It didn’t really work that way.

I learned so much about myself and my practice, but it was such an intense process, I didn’t have time to figure it out. Half the time, I didn’t understand what I was feeling, learning and experiencing. There was no way I could seperate it all into neat little blog posts.

People ask how yoga teacher training was. I don’t know how to answer. I wasn’t just one thing. It was everything. My life, my practice, my goals, my emotions, they’re all connected and I can’t pull out one thing and say it was good, or it was bad.

I do know how I feel now. I feel limitless. I can do anything and be anything.

Also, I know that I want to teach yoga from a place of love and joy. That’s what I have to share with the world.

Here’s a little look at my journey.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Practicing inversions.

Practicing inversions.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Supported headstand.

Supported headstand.

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Awesomeness.

Awesomeness.

One thing I am sure of: This is only the begining. There is so much more to learn.