Why Yoga, Mindfulness, and Life?

Although I, like many of us, began practicing yoga because it felt good physically, over years of practice, I began to understand how yoga really is about life.  When we manage to fit in a class or get ourselves on our mat, we might begin, like we do in any moment – with thoughts running through our heads about conversations we just had, or we may be be wrestling with a worry, or planning the weekend or our grocery list.  Most of the time – wherever we are – we enter a moment with the momentum and weight of the past or present with us.  Just to be here – now – is not so easy.  You may even be skimming the words you are reading right now – wondering, what’s the main point? Is this worth my time? I have other things to do.  And that’s valid.  In this time, when we have so much we could read, watch, listen to, or do – we need to decide quickly if something at hand is worth our attention.

That’s where yoga comes in.  When you start your practice, especially in a led-class, you let go for a short while, because you are asked to be here – in your body.  You may nevertheless be evaluating if you like the teacher, if you are in the mood for this practice – but most of the time, we give up on these thoughts for a moment and practice a pose.  And this is really about life.  As mindfulness teaches us – being present is one of the most challenging practices and one that we may work with for a lifetime.  But – if even for a moment, you let go of the judgements, let go of past and present, and just be here – in this pose you are doing, in this activity – whatever you are doing – you may experience a moment of just being with what is, without fighting it or escaping with your thoughts or distractions.

One of my favorite teachers told me – be here, in this asana, as if you will be here for one hundred years.  In this way, we learn to find ease and presence right now.

Let’s try it right now – stand in a tall ‘Tadasana’, keep your feet hip width apart and lift your toes and knee caps, lift your spine, lift your chest, keep your tailbone moving downwards and your fingers stretching down towards the floor.  Keep your head and neck in line with your spine.  Look straight in front of you and just be here.


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