We all spend too much time ruminating over past events or overthinking things that haven’t yet happened, and when we do, we miss out on what’s right in front of us in the moment.
So exactly how can we become more fully present in the here and now and why is it good for us?
In this blog, I share some of my own tips and experience on embracing the present moment, guiding the mind away from those circling thoughts and explain why it will help you enjoy the summer…and beyond.
Imagine this…it’s been a hectic morning so far, whether it’s been getting the kids ready for school or last minute prep for that meeting at work. Nevertheless, you set off on the commute following your usual route.
All of a sudden you arrive at the office and as you pull into your usual parking space you realise you can’t remember any part of the journey that brought you there. Without realising it, your mind has been so busy replaying the morning’s events or thinking ahead to your to do list for the rest of the day. You missed that little patch of summer wildflowers on the roadside that’s just come into bloom or your favourite song when it came on the radio.
We’ve all been there, including me, being a yoga teacher doesn’t make me immune to it. The commute to work is often one that flies by without me noticing the details. Other times it might be in a work meeting or when I’m eating a meal, I barely even taste the food before it’s all gone and then I’m wondering why I still feel hungry…it’s because I wasn’t paying attention!
Why Be Present?
None of us want to spend our day stuck in our head with the same thoughts / plans circling around, but what other benefits are there to enjoying the present moment and being fully aware?
- Being fully awake in the here and now helps to actively lower stress. If you can focus your attention on your five main senses now, it guides the mind away from overthinking, over planning or ruminating on the past.
- Your relationships improve – let’s be honest you can totally tell when someone isn’t listening properly and it’s annoying isn’t it? When you are attentive in a conversation and actively listen, your response is more appropriate and the person you’re talking to feels valued and respected. Win-win.
- You become more in touch with yourself and what you need in that moment, your intuition becomes stronger and your decision making improves.
- You appreciate things more fully, this is especially true for holidays, because we all know what it’s like to arrive back home and wonder where the time went. Whether you’re camping in the UK or lying on a sun-kissed beach, ask; what can I see, hear, taste smell? Soak it all up and it’ll last longer in your memory.
That’s all great, but how do I bring myself back to the present?
It’s actually really easy, the hardest bit is remembering to do it, once you’ve remembered, it’s a doddle. Here goes…
You can either find time to do this at the start or end of each day or you can do it right now wherever you are (even if that’s on the beach like I mention above)
- Sit quietly, allow your body to be comfortable and still. You can do this sat on the sofa, at your desk, lay on a sun lounger or even the supermarket queue (yes I have done this in Tesco!)
- Wherever you are, start by focusing your full attention on your breath
- Observe the full breath in and the full breath out
- Then become aware of what you can see around you. Notice colours, textures, shapes. Observe everything.
- Now begin to bring in your other senses, what you can hear, nearby and far away? What can you smell? What can you taste?
- Stay with these observations for a few minutes or as long as possible and feel free to repeat this as many times as you want / need throughout your day.
It’s such a simple practice, you can even try it mid-conversation. Focus your sense of hearing completely on the other person, the tone of their voice and the words they are saying, how much of it are you hearing and how much might you be able to remember if they asked you? Then when it’s your turn to speak, you’ll know the right thing to say.
Simple practices and tips like these always feature in my weekly yoga classes, so if you’d like to know and try more of this click here to view my full class timetable.
Or if you’ve got a question about my yoga classes or anything at all yoga related, I’d love to hear from you so feel free to email me here.