We all find ourselves in situations (sometimes over and over again) where our reactions are way out of proportion with reality. As crazy as it might seem, these reactions are a choice. Mindfulness practices such as yoga help us learn to choose our responses in even the most stressful situations. This ability frees us from the power that old habits and triggers have over us.
The ability to mindfully choose your response to a situation rather than mindlessly reacting goes a long way to smoothing out the rough edges of your experiences. It can make you more patient and more empathetic. It can help you to stay calm and centered. It can help you to understand and to honor your emotions without allowing them to dictate your actions.
The sounds of life around you as you practice are not a distraction. Rather, they are a small reminder that yoga is meant to support you as you live your life, not help you escape from it.
Are you addicted to being busy? There are many ways this can manifest in your life and regular "pauses" in your productivity is one way to create a healthier relationship with busy-ness.
With each "last time" in your life, you have the choice to feel sad or to savor the moment. If you let your feelings take center stage you could be missing out on some wonderful experiences.
Snap judgments can be surprisingly accurate. Practicing mindfulness can create more awareness of when we're making them, to help us avoid acting purely on bias or assumption.
Yoga teaches us the importance of staying clear-eyed and keenly observant. Without these "new eyes," you could miss all the tiny changes that make life wonderful.
With time and practice, regularly searching our experiences for moments that make us smile can create a happier life. Taking a moment several times a day to reflect on such moments can leave us feeling profoundly grateful – some would even say blessed. Mindfulness like this (no matter the method you choose to treasure it) can dramatically shift our experience of our lives – leaving us feeling hopeful and intentional as we look forward to tomorrow.
Yoga gives us a taste of what living feels like when we bring our focus back (over and over and over again) to what we’re actually experiencing. When we practice yoga with this level of mindfulness, we’re actually learning to stay engaged with our experiences moment to moment. It’s not that our minds stop thinking thoughts. It’s that we’re learning to resist the tempting lure of these thoughts.