Living In The Present

Illustrated by Jacqueline Davis Moranti

We live in a world where a heck of a lot of people are trying to find out how to be more happy. Whether it's looking for an inspirational book, tackling the quarterly life crisis, or just desperately trying to get out of a funk, it's something that many of us have experienced. Unfortunately, it's just not something that we always like to talk about, especially myself. But, here's the truth, life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Something that i've come to grips with recently. And that's totally okay, we just have to figure out how to go with the flow, ones path goes on a different pace than someone else. One of my absolute favorite ways to do so is with yoga. Sure, there are tons of other ways to cope and manage your stress but theres something about vinyasa that magically eases you. I'm going to let you in on my little secret, the four ways that yoga has helped me improve my mood and I'm certain it will for you too!

1. Makes you present
Too many of us face the hardship of learning how to actually live in the present. Anxious thoughts might surface from dwelling in the past or trying to predict the future. No matter how much you worry or think about what happened in the past, it won't make it go away. No matter how much you try to control tomorrow, you can't. You have what is here, what is now. When practicing yoga, always remember you are encouraged to focus on the now. How is your breath? How do your feet feel on the ground? How can you stretch deeper? How can you become greater? During your yoga class, you are 100 percent focused on your body and yourself. You are living in the present.
2. Reduces muscle tension

Pay attention to your body, you can learn a lot about your mindset. Often, your feelings and emotions actually affect how you physically feel. For example, when you're anxious, your chest might get tight or your stomach may bunch up. When you start to feel "off" and like all of your conversations are forced, your head may feel cloudy and really heavy. Mind and body are equally related. Yoga helps relieve muscle tension by strengthening, lengthening, and relaxing your body. Which means that by practicing yoga, you too can feel better both physically and mentally.

3. Accomplishment

Remember back to when you were a kid and got gold stars in class for doing a good job? It was such a great feeling! Sometimes, as adults, we don't give ourselves nearly enough credit. We don't take a minute to stop, give ourselves a pat on the back, and say, "Hey, awesome job! You're a star." With yoga, you are encouraged to stop and slooooow down. With every pose that you hold, with every stretch that you lengthen, and with every moment that you become more centered, you have time to mentally give yourself a big hug and two thumbs up. For every improvement - yoga or non-yoga related - you make, give yourself the love and appreciation that you deserve.

4. Breathe Better

If you have anxiety or panic attacks, then you probably have experienced troubles with breathing and lightheadedness. That is never a situation that anyone ever wants to be in - I understandably know how horrible that can feel. Luckily, one of the most important aspects of yoga is focusing on your breath. And when you have mastered your breathing techniques in class, you can also apply that same skillset to when you are feeling anxious or panicky. Inhale slowly. Breathe in all of that positivity. Exhale slowly. Rid yourself of that negativity. Take slow and deep breaths until you once again feel grounded.

For those that practice yoga, how about next time, pay close attention to how you feel before and after. And to anyone that hasn't had a chance to practice, give it a try! You might just be pleasantly surprised with how great you feel after your class. Dear readers, how do you live in the present?

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Thanks for the sweet whispers! XO