The other day while teaching a yoga class in New York City, I asked my students to ‘bend your knees, let your tailbone drop, and slooowly breathe yourself up to stand. rolling up the spine allowing the head, arm and shoulders to stay heavy…etc’.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Well, what I witnessed was something very different. Most of my students snapped up like they were on a timer. “What is going on here?" I thought. And then it hits me.
Shawn Achor, the author of “The Happiness Advantage,” in his studies have shown that our culture is riddled with ADHD and part of it is brought on by our excessive attempts at multitasking. We are harming ourselves trying to do too much causing all sorts of debilitating and potentially deadly problems. Sadly, most of us are stressed-out, overworked, overwhelmed and lacking connection to anything meaningful. And all of the emotional turmoil for what….? Trying to live an Instagram-worthy life, perhaps?
My students were anticipating, thinking ‘what’s next!,” and probably weren’t experiencing anything meaningful because they were lamenting over yesterday's brunch or how their boss yelled at them and what they would have said: “If only I….”. Your time on your yoga mat or within your meditation is an opportunity. An opportunity to pause, shift away from all this anxiety-inducing “what’s next“ and live and be in the moment.
Ok, I know you’ve heard all this, “live in the moment” mindfulness crap before. So how do you find it and experience it…? Get to know your Breath!!! As you will find, each inhale has a story and so does every exhale. Each inhale has a beginning, a middle and end and so does each exhale. And when we start to move, live and be with our breath, the plot thickens and the story gets much more interesting. What most of us do is try to hijack the story, take control and write it ourselves instead of letting it flow and allowing the moments to be discovered through the breath, and giving ourselves permission to let go, tune-in and just be.
Despite our best intentions, we can not dictate our experience in the present moment. All we can ever do is allow what is arising to arise and to be grateful for it, whatever it is, because technically that’s ALL there is. Control is one of the biggest illusions of all time. How do we let go of control, put the pen down and instead place ourselves in the driver’s seat with Life? This is what the practices of mindfulness are for. The more you become aware of your life, what works and what doesn’t work, the happier you will eventually become. “Where do I start?” I would suggest one of the following. Meditation. Get to “know thy-self” and the ever-changing world by accessing the inherent universal wisdom within all of us. This simple and yet powerful practice will help you to still your racing mind and calm your agitated body and create distance from our mind, body and time and their incessant demands. Breathe!
You want to discover your best friend in the world? Then find your breath, get to know it and ways to control it. Yes, control. We can not control the present circumstances but we can control how we show up. A smooth intentional breath will help us to remain calm, cool and connected. Allowing us to keep our head on straight instead of falling into the counter-productive survival mode. Practice Gratitude. By appreciating and saying “thank you” for all that life has to offer we get into the flow of life instead of making foolish demands of it.
This is why we created the Happy Not Perfect App. This fun and engaging mindfulness platform is where you can learn the simple principles of mindfulness and discover when you consistently practice them how they will make a difference in your life. And let us know. We would love to hear about your transformation as well as your trials and tribulations with mindfulness.
Thank you for checking in! Will Schneider, over-and-out