One of the most beautiful aspects of yoga is that it teaches us how to be present and mindful of all the treasures that lie in the present moment. We may often be oblivious of the present moment and forgetful of our unawareness yet we go on living half the experience we were meant to live. Yoga is the training of the mind to have clarity and attentiveness to every action we perform, whether it is as simple as writing this article or walking on the streets. We may appear fully attentive but the mind can easily wander off and it is through this self-observation and taking a breath sometimes that we regain full attention to the task at hand.
This is an aspect of yoga that has to do with our actions, and how if we pay attention to anything we are doing, we perform better. That is what yoga attempts to do to our minds during practice, so that slowly this attentiveness can weave into the actions we take on in our daily lives.
Learning to be attentive and present can have great positive effects on our productivity, relationships, matters of the heart, our jobs, our studies… The greatest benefits of being attentive is that we do things better, we become better decision makers, and most importantly become smarter. It is less probable for us to make mistakes or to have accidents if we are fully attentive to where we are and what we are doing. Most of the times when we regret something we said or did, would be because we were not paying enough attention and merely acting, or reacting impulsively without weighing what is building up inside or without deciphering its origin and why it wants to come out that way. And so, we end up letting our feelings; the illusion of what has triggered us to take the lead and regret its results later. This attentive observation to whatever feeling is arising in us will help us control our reactions and build a kinder version of ourselves.
Sometimes life can trigger us, people can surely offend us but it is really important to stay attentive and aware that whatever is happening is not always about us, there are many factors to why things happen the way they do or why people act the way they do. You are not responsible for others or for what they are putting out but you are definitely responsible for how attentive you are and how you decide to react. Taking responsibility for our actions can bring more awareness to the process of how or why it happened and help us have more control over it. Once we acknowledge that whatever we put out into this world or in ourselves is what we will receive in return, we are raising our awareness. And by changing thought patterns, behaviors, actions and responses, we can eventually change the world. Practicing non-violence in whatever we do, say or think, can help this world become a better place. If each and every one of us took the time to reflect on what they were about to say, do or even think, probably 90% of our problems would dissolve.
Yoga teaches us how to be patient with our bodies and therefore it can teach us how to be patient with others. It is not only how we act on the mat that matters, but how we portray ourselves and our actions in life. We would really be practicing the true essence of yoga, if we are aware of our behaviors in society or between family and friends. Starting by choosing our words right and examining our actions before performing them is key to making sure that no harm is being put out there. It is quite hard to never make mistakes, or say something we did not mean or overreact to someone’s attitude, but just like any yoga pose that needs practice, so does our way of being. If you were going to choose anything to practice, practice to be present and in your presence to be kind. But first you have to be kind to yourself, forgive your moments of despair, of anger, and of lashing out. Be kind to your body and to your breath, and only then, can you be kind to others. Letting things go, stepping away from something that does not work at a moment, can help us become detached from our feelings and thus make us better people when faced with challenges in life.
When we pour all our mental power into one thing, we do better at it rather than having our power scattered around in thought and attention. It is no longer a habit of the mind to do this or that at a certain moment but it is our full presence that takes over our actions, and thus we become more mindful of everything we may say or do. We become better at our connections with others and that will influence others to do the same. And through that cycle of kind awareness a whole, new perspective on life will arise, one that can create a better way of understanding ourselves, the world we live in and how to help make it a better place.