Harnessing a state of inner presence. This is one of the key gifts of a rich yoga practice. The ability to be in presence which is now, and now, and now.
When we are depressed, we are in a lagging state the exists in the past. We feel behind, like we can't catch up and our thoughts tend to dwell in past events, conversations, circumstances.
Similarly, when we are anxious, the mind accelerates ahead of the present into the future, attempting to predict, anticipate, control, and strategize.
Depressed or anxious, in either state, we are not present to the now moment. We may be here in the flesh but the mind is elsewhere. And we are missing out of what NOW has to offer us.
Yoga is the antidote to the mind that likes to vacillate between the past and the future, like a slippery fish- which is every untrained mind. Yoga grounds us into a state of presence. We are able to attend to each moment as it is occurring, rather than letting the mind run our attention from yesterday to tomorrow. Grounding into presence occurs often when we are on our mats and often times a residual effect is felt for hours after a good practice. When we are in the moment, we are able to witness and take part in what is true and present in our lives in real time. The mind gets to settle into a peaceful and expansive state of consciousness which is calming. Instead of the whirling state of consciousness that likes to recount what has happened and to anticipate what will be, we are able to hold steady in the "is-ness" of being without the mind rapidly writing and re-writing a narrative about what is. Harnessing presence is the sign of a true yogi.
What happens when the present moment is stressful? What happens is we are prepared. I call us yogis, "warriors of presence" because we are not just able to hold steady and remain present when it feels good. We are able to breathe through and feel through most everything that occurs. We are always aware of the inner-witness- the one who is observing everything as it occurs, from a distance- on some level and are also able to distance ourselves from reactivity to a more reflective state. When we become warriors of presence, we no longer fear what is up ahead. We no longer wince when we look over our shoulder. We look with eyes wide open, hearts wide open, ears wide open and we stand witness, as warriors, to this singular, one-time-only, now moment. We ride the wave of awareness, with all its peaks and valleys and in-between moments.