by Heather Robinson,
In that moment.
In that moment something holds me – here on my yoga mat, here I stand ready for practice, here I am connecting …. Then it happens –
Did I switch my phone off? Do I need to check?…..
Now I follow my breath with its gentle rhythm, compelling and calming me, now I’m connecting……
Or am I?? I forgot to make that phone call, will I remember later? Is my phone off?
Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Thankfully, there is guidance and incentive.
Millennia ago the sage Patanjali began his compilation ‘The Yoga Sutras’ with the Sanskrit word ‘atha’, meaning ‘now’.
Connecting – being in that moment – gives us the opportunity to follow yoga.
What a start! Auspicious or what?
‘Atha’ – a special word with its own unique connotation – is like a welcome for those who are ready, a starting gun. Each time we come to practice and moments during practice Atha – being present to ‘now’ – solicits a feeling of readiness, a keenness, a freshness.
In that moment the past is past, the future is yet to come. In the present – not dwelling on the past – did I make that call? – or wondering about the future – will I remember to make that call? In the present, I am practising.
Through bringing the mind to focus in the present we have the possibility to deepen practice with this active state helping us to develop clarity, awareness and a wonderful sense of living – how good is that! A blossoming.
It doesn’t end there, of course, as inevitably we are able to take this being present active state into everyday life.
‘Ah, all well and good’, I hear you say, ‘but how do I know I’m in the present?’ There’s so much going on and switching off isn’t easy. The joy of yoga is it gives so many options to help ‘hold’ us – from engaging with the physical body, the breath, sound/chanting/mantra, visualisations, to ways for meditation and reflection, and more. Like a good pair of boots we choose, perhaps with guidance, practices to suit us at that time.
A good start is to use the breath – observing its patterns and qualities – and beginning to gently lengthen the exhale and the inhale. Working with breath and movement is especially helpful as when we lose our place we know the mind has popped off elsewhere and it’s time to kindly bring it back.
Yoga gives us a great tool for living – let’s use it!
About Heather Robinson:
Heather Robinson specialises in one to one teaching, yoga therapy, workshops and teacher development. Her aim is to help bring life and lightness to the use of yoga for self-help and self-development. She is trained on the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya and T.K.V. Desikachar and worked as a yoga teacher in the UK for over 20 years. More recently qualified as a yoga therapist and teacher trainer she now lives in Auckland with her husband. She is an active member of the YogaNZ council.