You know how, when you’re practicing yoga, it’s easy to get caught up in your head. The teacher says something about ‘being present’ and you think something like, ’nice idea – not where I’m at though’. When these times arise, it’s helpful to have an easy mindfulness technique to hand.
What if shifting gears was simpler than you thought (isn’t that always the case in yoga?)?
Step one: Acknowledge that there’s a storyline playing out in your head.
Acknowledge that there’s a storyline playing out in your head.Relating to it as a storyline makes it easier to externalise. Now you’re engaging with characters and a plot instead of tangled in something deeply personal.
So, a storyline exists… So does breathing.
Step two: Notice the physical sensation of your breath as it comes into your chest.
Notice the physical sensation of your breath as it comes into your chest You feel your chest and belly expand, and shortly after you feel your breath flows out through your nose.
After a few rounds you’ll feel quite lovely. You’ll have dropped from discursive thinking to present-moment feeling.
Step three: Expand your felt sense to other things that are present within you.
Expand your felt sense to other things that are present within you. Do this in a nonverbal way.
When you do, you’ll probably notice a bunch of ‘felt senses’. You may also find that you don’t have a label for the things you feel (which is actually very nice). Move from one feeling to another to another. Notice how feelings live in different places, have different shapes and textures, even energy signatures.
The thought forms that initially felt so impenetrable have now dispersed like clouds.
Almost everything in our lives involves thinking.
Planning, communicating, information processing, even daydreaming. Pausing the momentum of thought and touching the world – inner and outer – more directly through our senses feels like a salve.
Yoga is a gentle kind of discipline that helps us become familiar with the open, non-conceptual, space within ourselves that has, in fact, always been there.
Now that you know how to find it, whenever you find yourself off-kilter you can drop in using this easy mindfulness technique, rest for a while, and then re-emerge refreshed.