living in the present momentBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How important is the present moment? When one of us decides to pursue the study of Yoga, we find ourselves living and learning Yoga every day. On or off the mat, Yoga students can apply their practice to the many lessons life has to offer. The result of all this learning, and applying Yogic principles to life, is a major leap in self-improvement.  You can learn from your past, live the present moment in harmony, and plan your future, with an improved perspective of each. Past, present, and future are valuable, but each is important in a different way.

Let’s first address the past. Many people are prisoners to their past. When you look at past lessons, mistakes, and set-backs, each is as valuable as any form of higher education. This becomes life experience, and you should make the most of any form of education; otherwise you are wasting your life experiences, twice – first by learning them, and then later by regretting, blaming, and second guessing yourself. On top of this, you can create poor mental, physical, and spiritual health. This is the exact opposite from what you are taught in a Yoga class. Yoga teaches you to unify these components of health, and this will enable you to improve your entire being. Put past worries, adversity, and pains behind you.

You can save them in a “mental file,” much like a valuable book. This teaches you not to repeat the same mistake twice. Remember that the past is filled with accomplishments, too. If you can read these words, you must be accomplishing quite a bit. Be fair with yourself and try not to be so critical. Let go of guilt and forgive yourself for being human. If you start to sink into deep dark past regrets, practice pranayama; breath awareness is the key to bringing you into the present.

This is much similar to what you might do when holding an asana for an extended time during your Yoga training session. This will also allow you to focus on the most important time of all – the present moment. The present is the time for action, and you must be proactive in order to succeed in life. Good reactions will save your life, but proactive behavior requires planning, innovation, vision, and perseverance. You must focus on the present to see opportunities which are right in front of you.

Life is filled with many obstacles and you have to be ready for the daily challenge. You cannot change the past, but you can change the present moment and the future. Every successful person has faced criticism, failure, and self-doubt. When you let negative thoughts into your heart and mind, you cannot think clearly. You cannot act now, and this affects your ability to plan for the future. How can you visualize success, if you are letting fear and self-doubt control your life?

Fill your mind with passion that motivates you to step forward and plan your future. When you meditate, take the time to visualize your success, achievements, and goals as vividly as possible. When you practice meditation and Yoga in this way, you will find yourself enjoying life, living in the present moment, helping others, and on your path to success.


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