What is it that catches you? What stops you and makes you pause? Is it something tugging at you from the past or perhaps an idea about what might happen in the future? Or is it a sensation inside that asks to be brought into presence and noticed right now?
How often throughout the day do we think we are being in the moment when where we are is caught up in story? As you read this, you may be thinking that you are focused and totally aware, taking in these words, feeling that they don’t apply to you so much – at least not right now. I suspect that behind the mind scene are thoughts percolating and waiting for an opening to suggest more of the story – any story will do.
Staying in the present can be a bit like walking a tightrope with always the potential to fall to one side or the other. Difficult to relax on the wire; even pausing requires an alertness and readiness to respond. Would it surprise you to know that training to become a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner prepares you to do just this?
Being present to what’s happening in the moment benefits everyone, not only those who meet a client in a yoga therapy session. It means all (or at least most) of you is available, alert and not caught in the content of the story playing out in your mind. It means that when you are tempted to react, when emotional responses begin to rise, that you continue to have some point of reference in the present. You have an anchor that keeps you from drifting out to sea with yourself.
You may be wondering what this anchor looks like. Is it something you carry with you? How heavy is it? It’s actually relatively simple and requires only that you bring your focus to your breath and body. Breath is the anchor that grounds you in the here and now. Breath and body can always serve as your reference point. This simple shift away from triggers that catch you can be enough to interrupt and allow you to come back to the present moment.
The good news is that the more you practice this, the easier it becomes. The brain can develop new connections different from the habitual responses that come up for you. It isn’t that we no longer experience the emotions, sensations and thoughts that make us human. The invitations to get caught will still be there, but we don’t have to be fooled into exchanging the present moment for the seductive story or the intense emotion. We have a way out…