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Cultivating Present Moment Awareness Through Yoga & Mindfulness

March 05, 20244 min read

Yoga Inspired Living

Have you ever noticed how quickly your newsfeed updates, how fast we scroll through articles scanning for the "important stuff?"

Do you find yourself struggling to sit quietly without reaching for something to do, or ultimately get up for something, just to find yourself wondering why and where did all my time go?

Mindfulness

In our fast-paced world, the idea of slowing down and just being seems almost impossible. It's funny really because we all, at some point in our lives, wish for it, but when it comes, we are all too quick to get it over with.

The truth we really need to face, and embrace is not the newest social media trend, or the past, or even the future, it's this exact present moment. It truly is the only one we have. Yoga helps us to cultivate and home in on this skill.

Yes, it's a skill. It must be practiced because we have been programmed for a long time to believe that we always need to be moving. It doesn't matter where at this point; it could be in circles if we are not careful, but we are always expected to move.

We need to un-program ourselves from this, and the only way to do that is by accepting and being OK with being exactly where we are right now.

So how does yoga help us to do this?

1. Asana or Poses

Every yoga asana is an invitation to come home to the present moment and listen deeply to your body's wisdom. As you mindfully transition into the pose, you may sense new physical sensations arising - areas of opening or resistance that you hadn't noticed before. As you soften and allow yourself to truly inhabit the shape, you can observe how your body adapts or doesn't, free of judgment.

This profound awareness can only happen when you release thoughts of the past and future and dwell fully in the here and now. When you let go of striving and simply be with your present experience, each breath becomes an opportunity for gratitude.

You may feel grateful for the miracle of having a body that can stretch, strengthen, and move. You may cultivate gratitude for the sacred pause where you're not doing, but simply being - an impartial witness. And you can be thankful for the very challenges that arise within the poses, knowing they are opportunities to transcend boundaries. For when you stay attuned to the physical, emotional, and energetic landscapes within, you open portals to self-discovery.

2. Mindful Breathing

Our breath is an anchor, perpetually available to call us back to the still point of the present moment. Like the physical shapes of yoga asana, our inhales and exhales invite us inward - to tune into the subtle landscapes of body and mind. With conscious intention, we can slow this oscillating tide to create pockets of spaciousness amidst life's storm.

As you arrive on your mat, let your breath be the gateway to self-study. Observe the quality of each cycle - is it shallow or deep, rushed or relaxed? Do you find tightness or ease as you fully experience the rise and fall? From this place of presence, you can then mindfully adjust your breath to cultivate an inner sense of calm.

With each elongated inhalation and exhalation, you reclaim your center. The breath acts as your personal remote control to down-shift your nervous system, soothing anxiety and opening space for clarity. Mindful breathing sweeps your mental clutter away to reveal the stillness beneath.

3. Letting Go

At its heart, yoga is a journey into surrender - a guided liberation from the self-imposed chains that keep us bound. With each exhale, we are invited to release the grip of judgment, expectation, and attachment that colors our perception.

When we step onto our mats, the practice becomes a training ground to unhook from the conditioned mind. Can we let go of needing to get the perfect pose and simply be with ourselves as we are? Can we shed the judgments that torment our self-worth and trust in our enoughness? Can we untether from the expectations and attachments that blind us to the beauty of the present moment?

As we consciously soften our white-knuckled grip on how we think things "should" be, space opens up for us to experience life with fresh eyes. We become observers rather than unconscious reactors constantly at war with reality. In this spaciousness, we have the chance to truly show up for ourselves.

Yoga doesn't ask you to become something other than yourself; rather, it creates space for the fullest expression of who you already are. A powerful return to wholeness through the deceptively simple art of letting go.

Conclusion:

Remember as you go about your day the valuable lesson of being mindful. You might find yourself floating, but this is not to be scolded; it's to be observed. You became aware of your mindlessness. Now you can continue your journey in the present moment. So, whether you are intentionally getting on your yoga mat, or you are purposefully stopping to take a breath, know that each time you notice yourself doing this, you are nurturing your ability to be in the most important moment of all. This one.

Mindfulness Yoga Yoga for beginners yoga for all letting go
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Jules Shapiro

500 HRCertified Yoga Teacher & Business Coach for Health and Wellness Professionals

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