We have a cultural habit of high productivity and effort, and many well intended people end up burnt out or grappling with restlessness. Over time, even the most “advanced” or seasoned yoga practitioners must re-learn the importance of staying present. If you often feel like you’re walking one pace faster than you physically can, perhaps it’s time to consider the amount of enjoyment you have in what you’re doing. While progress may feel stilted when we slow down, ultimately our lives become more enjoyable when we can detach ourselves from achievement, and tune into our experiences instead.
When you first approach any endeavour, start by setting your attention on a thought that encourages an attitude of open interest. When we draw on our inner resources of breath, presence, and current awareness, we are much less likely to become entangled ahead of ourselves. Whether we know our own “saboteur” well or not, there is always an ebb and flow in progress. The more present we stay, the less likely we are to find ourselves stuck in a familiar dilemma or discouraging set back.
Try these simple practices in the morning, before an important interaction, or any time during the day you feel yourself picking up momentum towards becoming scattered or anxious.
Notice Your Physical Space
Most meditation techniques guide you to begin by following your breath, but I find this challenging in particularly bustling environments. When my attention feels fragmented, it helps to focus on just a few objects in my immediate vicinity.
Pay Attention To The Specific Colours And Objects Around You That Draw Your Interest
If the first few observations you make feel distressing, look instead for a striking object that peaks your interest. Keep it simple at first: a design, a child’s expression or a colour palette that relaxes you.
Tune Into Your Body
Get to know what helps you personally stay present, and brings your focus from scattered to centered. Some people wiggle their toes to connect to their feet, while others begin a deep belly breath. Personally, a few shoulder rolls or simple movements help me release any tension or emotions I may be feeling.
Remember Your Original Motive
Use your cognitive thinking skills to do a quick check in. Is it time to take a break from my efforts, change environments or connect with an outside source to help me get back in my groove? As much as we like to build our ability to “tune in”, none of us need to tackle life alone. Increasing your connection to the support around you can renew your enthusiasm and offer a fresh perspective. We all need those moments with a friend, pet, or nature to appreciate and balance the momentum of our lives.
Ultimately, we are creating our lives and how we want to feel in them, day by day. We become more energized by consciously creating more enjoyment as we navigate changes and meeting the needs of the day. Whatever your next endeavour, make sure you don’t speed towards completion, but pause along the way. Letting the energy flow towards where you are headed by staying present will feel more rewarding than urgently rushing through our days.