Mid-Summer is finally here — what better time to be guided into the now. The mind often hankers after the next moment and the next. But yoga guides us into the now and then we’re able to rest in our true nature, bliss. This is how Patanjali opens his Yoga Sutras. How exactly do we accomplish this? Yoga is such a large toolkit. There are two approaches to this, unpack the moment in all its micro-elements or apply a tool to draw you gradually into direct experience.
Unpack the moment:
- Notice anchor experiences that are always with you:
- the breath entering your nostrils, chest and belly; then notice the temperature, aroma, humidity;
- the muscles on your frame you may be tensing, shoulders, belly, jaw, forehead; then notice them soften and drop back and down;
- the skin as it makes contact with various textures, the air, your clothes, the sand between your toes; what does it really feel like?
- Notice special aspects of this moment in particular:
- The feeling of dry sand or soil or grass) as you release it slowly through your fingers; slow down each movement involved in a string of movements;
- The sound of each wave as it crests, rises up the shore and falls away; are there individual sounds, what is the blending point?
- Observe the individual colours of grains of sand or pebbles or trees in your view; how many different shades do you see?
Practice one posture or breathing technique right on the spot:
- Drop into a squat or a chair pose; feel your feet on the earth; notice how the various parts of your body need to move to accomplish this pose; notice what it’s like to feel solid like your surrounding natural environment: the earth, trees, rocks and shrubs.
- Anuloma Viloma (7 – 10 rounds) offers one way of focussing on the breath through particular nostrils and is very effective for bringing you into the moment. Practice slowing the breath so that you cannot hear it; use the root lock and half uddiyana to ground and channel the prana; finally, focus on the breath as it moves from your nostrils, up the bridge of the nose to the third eye. Feel that your breath links you to the air and space around you.
- Sit for three minutes and soften your gaze on an unbroken field of awareness: the clear blue sky above, a still lake or pond, or an expanse of grass. Inhale the experience of sky/lake/grass without thinking of the word itself just the direct experience. Exhale sink deeper into the direct experience.
As you experience each moment arising and passing away, there is a richness and fullness that mean there is less clinging, craving and aversion. Atha yoga anushasanam! Yoga guides us into the now!