"True meditation is about being fully present with everything that is including discomfort and challenges. It is not an escape from life."
Imagine the ability to slow down your thoughts, become present with the “now”. Our daily lives have the ability to cause stress and frustration. Each time we get in the car and interact with other drivers on the road. When we perform our routine chores at home, or tasks at our job. Every interaction has the potential to elicit a negative response within. Let’s be clear. The moments that make up our days, our life for that matter, can be perceived as stressful and frustrating, OR NOT. We have the power to manage our emotions.
Self-awareness by definition “is the experience of one’s own personality or individuality.” It is to be conscious of your feelings, character and motives. If we practice self-awareness, we will be less likely to feel out of control. We will be more aware of how our circumstances affect us. In turn, we gain power over our emotions.
When I began my yoga practice there was something that stood out to me and left an impact from my first studio class. The teacher suggested we “set an intention”. I was not expecting that. I had no idea what to do. Intention for me or maybe a friend, family…the world? I later came to interpret this as the first step in becoming more present in the room, in my practice. Bringing awareness to the “now”. I stopped overthinking what my intention could be and started listening within. This practice set the tone for my class, that day and eventually my life.
At the core of yoga is the breath. The focus is upon the act of inhalation and exhalation, as well coordinating your movements and postures (asanas) with this breath. This is yet another opportunity to become more present and aware. The breath is a simple way of accessing the “now”. Becoming aware has allowed me to open myself to the present moment. In being distracted by our thoughts and thinking about the past or perhaps the future, we can not fully experience the depth and beauty of our current lives. Have you ever stopped to literally smell the roses? It is so easy to walk past the rose and not see its beauty and smell its lovely scent. Walk outside and just listen. I make an honest effort to do this each time I leave my house. Sometimes I hear the trees blowing in the wind, the birds talking to each other. When we slow down and open ourselves to the present moment, we are capable of experiencing life in a different and potentially more powerful way.
In becoming more aware with ourselves we are able to manage those life stresses with a bit more grace. Practicing yoga has allowed me to become more self-aware. It has been a tool to learn more about me. Perhaps you may also find a benefit to the practice as well. Each yoga practice has the ability to teach something new, especially if we are present in the moment.