Yoga has taught me to how to slow down, live in the present, and how to quiet my monkey mind.
Yoga has woven itself into my life beyond asana (the physical practice). I’ve carried the joy, peace and calm I find on the mat into my day to day life.
Being present on the mat became a natural state with a regular yoga practice. Off the mat and in life? At first, not so much.
You know the feeling. When life is moving quickly and we effortlessly kick into autopilot going about everyday tasks. Sound familiar?
Life is a beautiful gift and every magical moment deserves to be wholeheartedly lived.
I have become more conscious about making the most out of each and every day.
THE BENEFITS OF LIVING IN THE PRESENT [from personal experience]
Increase enjoyment in life. I enjoy life more if I’m present rather than having my mind elsewhere and on things other than that moment.
Reduce stress. In being present there are no worries. There is just experiencing all the moment has to offer.
Build better relationships. When you really commit yourself to being with someone, to listening to them, you are being a better father, husband, friend, daughter, girlfriend. You have better conversations. You connect more deeply.
What does the research say?
Practicing mindfulness can actually change the body and the brain and have positive effects on your psychological well-being.
Researchers at Harvard have established scientific proof that meditation can change the brain’s gray matter.
After 8 weeks of practicing mindfulness exercises for an an average of 27 minutes per day, MRI scans of participants showed that mindfulness:
- stimulated a significant increase in the density of gray matter in the hippocampus, important for learning and memory;
- increased the density of gray matter in other neural structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection;
- decreased the density of gray matter in the amygdala – the part of the brain associated with anxiety and stress.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health attitudes and behaviors.
Mindfulness improves physical health:
- help relieve stress
- treat heart disease
- lower blood pressure
- reduce chronic pain
- improve sleep
- alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
Mindfulness improves mental health as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including:
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- couples’ conflicts
- anxiety disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
Still not sure? There’s more.
According to the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, mindfulness can also help to:
- improve the quality of life for patients with cancer;
- improve the experience of various conditions and illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders, HIV, and fibromyalgia;
- alleviate asthma;
- alleviate hot flashes.
HOW you can train your brain to LIVE IN THE PRESENT
Although I highly recommend it, you don’t have to practice yoga to learn how to live in the present.
There are little things that you can do anywhere and anytime to cultivate a mindfulness mindset.
Focus on your breath. Notice the physical sensations of each inhale and exhale and feeling where your breath is in the body.
Don’t try to clear your mind. Our brains don’t work that way. Instead of trying to clear your mind, acknowledge your thoughts and then allow them to float by like a leaf on a river or a cloud in the sky.
Focus on your body. Notice how your body feels at this very moment. Think about how strong your body is and acknowledge all that it can do.
Count your blessings. Think about everything in your life for which you’re grateful and allow that feeling to take over your body and ground you in the here and now.
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Being present will help you feel the cool breeze on your skin, the warm sun on your face and the full joy of being with the people you love. Beautiful little details in life that are often missed.
I would love to chat.
Does being present come easily to you? What are your biggest challenges to living in the present?
be the best version of YOU