Eyes closed: The art of staying present in yoga and life
We tend to spend so much time living in the future or dwelling in the past, we recognize something special has happened when we spend some time in the present moment. You know, like when you get really absorbed in a task or project, and upon finishing you feel like you just took a mini vacation from the constant underlying state of stress.
That “mini vacation” is what life would feel like all of the time if we mastered the art of staying present. There’s no need to worry when you stay in the present because there’s nothing to worry about. You can plan and act, but worry only arises when one is considering a poor future outcome. But poor future outcomes are mitigated when you spend your time planning and acting.
Until we master the art of totally experiencing every moment in its entirety, however, it’s helpful to utilize some exercises which will serve that endeavour. One trick that will zoom you right into the here and now is ridiculously simple, but extremely effective… just close your eyes.
You can start with a simple task like brushing your teeth. You will instantly become aware of how your hand feels, and how the toothbrush feels in your hand. Then you’ll notice that the movement feels exaggerated. Simply by taking away one of your senses that are typically a part of your routine experience, you totally change the experience!
Next, try closing your eyes during your yoga practice. You can keep your eyes open to transition between postures to start, just closing your eyes when you’re in position, and then you can experiment with more movement. Balancing postures in yoga will be extremely challenging, but even rather stable postures like Warrior 2 will feel unsteady with the new element.
Closing your eyes forces you to think about what you’re doing because it interrupts your mechanical ways of moving through the world. Interrupting regular patterns is an effective way to train oneself to live in the present moment. Come up with new ways to use this tool… flow through a yoga sequence with eyes closed, taste your food with your eyes closed, sign a cheque with your eyes closed, talk on the phone with your eyes closed. Be creative – live in the Here and Now!