Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lessons from Yoga: Be Present

Today I had a life/yoga moment. Well two of them. One when I gave myself some advice and then again when I realized that what I was trying to do in my yoga practice is exactly what I was telling myself to do in life. Did that make sense? No you say?

Ok then, let me 'splain.

First, background: I am not fond of the 'going home' process. I never have been. I love the fact that my day is over and I get to go home, but I don't like all the things I have to do to get there. Like drive home, and walk up the sidewalk, and put my coat away. Stupid- I know- but for some reason I have always been this way. These things don't bother me on non-work its work day specific.

Now that I have the Sweet Baboo, I add all the things that precede picking him up from daycare to that list. Again, I love the fact that I get to see him and take him home, I just don't like the things leading up to getting him there. Walking up the steps to his provider's house. Putting on his coat. Putting him in the car seat. I realize this is weird. I accept it.

Well, where yoga comes in, is that I don't dislike any of these actions as I'm doing them. I dislike them when I think of them before they occur- at 4:30 when I'm getting ready to get up from my desk and leave for the day. So today, I said to myself:

"Self, you don't have to do all these things right now. You only have to put on your coat and walk to your car. That's it. That's all you have to do right now. The way you can not get overwhelmed by "all the things you have to do" in order to get home and relax, is to only think about the step you're engaging in right NOW. Notice, dear Self, that I put "all the things you have to do" in quotes because "all the things" is a bit of an exaggeration on your part. I mean 'walking up the sidewalk'? That's being a bit dramatic is it not?"

I have done this kind of thinking before, but I sometimes forget, and it was good to remind myself. I mean, walking up the sidewalk? That is not a problem, and its not like when I'm facing the sidewalk I'm all "oh my goodness, I can not believe I have to walk this right now." Obviously it's not the steps themselves, but when I think about them at 4:30 when I'm still at work and they are standing between me and the inside of my house, that's the problem.

So when I was doing my yoga today, I found myself doing the same kind of thing: "ugg, I still have 15 minutes left" or "aw man, I still have those two hard poses to go". I realize that part of the problem is that I've done the videos I have so many times that I anticipate what's left, but that shouldn't matter, because each pose should stand alone. Yes, yoga poses flow from one to another, but each one should be valued and concentrated on while its being done. My problem comes when I am not present in the pose I'm doing at that moment. Once I started concentrating on the moment, I stopped anticipating future discomfort, and enjoyed where I was.

That's exactly how it works in my life. I enjoy the drive to daycare. I listen to the radio, I may or may not embarrass myself by singing along so people next to me at the stop light can see me, I look at the pretty colors in the sunset. It's only when I take it as one of many steps, instead of on its own, that it causes anxiety and 'blahness'.

Don't let the anticipation of future blah (which most likely will not even occur) cause the present moment to be blah. At the risk of being cliche, each moment is precious, I should savor them individually as much as I can!


  1. Just catching up on my blog reading. I enjoyed this post Hope. Well done. :) Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. Love the photo of the turkey you rescued, lucky fella.

  2. Important message Hope. I needed this reminder...funny how the universe continues to send messages when you aren't listening. Thanks. :)

  3. I'm really glad that I wrote it at the time you needed it. I love how things work that way. :)