For the next 10 posts, I will be discussing The Ten Principles of Yoga, to which I was first introduced in a workshop led by pregnancy yoga guru, Janice Clarfield. The principles can also be applied to childbirth.
The first of the ten principles in Being Present.
This is not so much about being physically present in the room (although that of course is important too). It’s about being present, mentally. Being Present means that while you practice yoga, you are focused on your breath, on physical sensations in your body, and on your mental and emotional states. You are not just letting your mind wander off from one topic to another.
Another way to define Being Present might be “being conscious” or “being mindful.”
There are so many benefits to Being Present while you practice yoga. If you focus on your breath and draw your awareness inward, your practice will become more meditative and serene. By focusing inward, you will be more attuned to insights and inspiration. You will also be more in tune with your physical self, and thus will be able to sense which muscles are tight, or prone to injury – so you will be able to adjust your physical practice accordingly.
Reminding yourself to Be Present will also lessen the detrimental effects of a wandering mind. For example, if you find yourself comparing your own butt to the “perfect butt” of the person in front of you, and lamenting the notion that yours is less than perfect, then you are letting yourself become distracted with mental chatter. When you catch yourself comparing, bring your awareness back to the present – find your breath, notice what’s going on in your body, notice how you are feeling.
It’s a valuable practice that can be applied elsewhere in your life as well.