Recently I have been inspired by the Breath (So Hum) and the Gaze (Drishti) as tools to help connect us more fully in our Yoga Practice. This past week my hope was to use these techniques into action together to practice the goal we all seek to attain; To be present in our LIVES as well as on our mats.
Two weeks ago a second grade teacher in my son’s school passed away suddenly. She had discovered she was sick a month prior and no one expected the end to happen so quickly. The shock and sadness of the school community was profound. It was a sweet reminder of how beautiful the human spirit is when it is used to support others and it was also a reminder of how precious the current moment always is.
The quote that articulated this reminder to me was one said by the Dalai Lama. “There are only two days in a year that nothing can be done, one is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. So today is the right day to love,believe, do and mostly live”
That is what I tasked my students with on their mats last week. To love, believe, do and live for themselves in that moment on their mats. We began with two very slow Sunamaskara A Sun Salutations that helped us stay in our breath and the gaze. I asked the students to still the mind, to quiet the instinct to rush through it, rather to savor it.
We worked through lots of binding which is a powerful force because it asks us to go to our edge with grace and ease. I reminded my students to “savor” the moment, rather than “endure” it; to create a moment they could savor even if it meant doing something less or something else.
Often times on the mat (and off) we force ourselves into poses or situations that are not serving us. Whether its ego or other circumstances that take us there, the practice is getting ourselves out of those situations, ideally with grace and ease.
So as we explored Bound Side Angle (Parsvokonasana) and then moved into Bound Triangle (Trikonoasana) we asked the question…”Am I living in this moment or am I just enduring it?” That was the litmus test. Some students chose to go further from Bound Trikonasana into Bound Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) but only if they could stay in the breath, stay in the gaze and therefore live in the moment.
This practice is a powerful one, on and off the mat. Being able to reevaluate and ask ourselves “Are we living here right now, or are we just enduring” gives us the chance to be more Present. We can’t do anything about the past, the future is unknown but we can enjoy each moment of the Present. That is the practice, that is the gift, that is the Present.
I got to practice being Present even as I was laying in bed just yesterday with a brutal 24 stomach bug. I reminded myself to listen to my body and surrender to the sleep I needed in that moment. I knew whatever was supposed to be done in my life (including this blog post) would still be there tomorrow. Instead what was serving me was to connect and listen in the present moment. Even though it was my bed and not my mat, I listened to my body, I closed my eyes, I connected to my breath and the Present gave me what just I needed. Namaste.