We go through the motions a lot. How many things in a day do you perform mindlessly? Is there anything you enjoy doing that you perform mechanically? This includes cooking, sewing, yoga, rock climbing, swimming, playing with your kids – any activity that brings you joy. How often do you actually stop to appreciate the moment?
This is part of why we practice mindfulness in yoga. Connecting with the breath and scanning the body for sensation is just a part of practicing being in the moment. At the end of a practice, time a moment to appreciate that you showed up for class (whether it be at home or in a studio setting). Then, be grateful for what your body did – don’t take for granted even the ability to relax in child’s pose. No pose, even the most challenging ones, is worth doing if you can’t be in the moment, breathing, and harmonious with your body.
Notice the after effects of your practice. Do you sleep better that evening? Do you feel nicer, less afraid of connecting with others, more focused and attentive? Of course there are days you’ll be sore, and sometimes the soreness will indicate that you overdid something or need to modify in the future. Again, is it possible to be grateful that you can feel that soreness? Some people can’t practice yoga, either due to lack of confidence, money, or physical barriers.
In the beginning of practice, find an intention. If your teacher doesn’t offer one or give you a specified time to do so, find time in your breathing to search for something to focus on during the practice. Maybe you dedicate your practice to someone who could use some positive vibes. Perhaps you just want to “get through” the class without feeling stressed. Maybe you want to deepen your breathing, or practice positive thoughts when your mind starts to criticize.
Take this idea off your mat. Spend time with people and tell them how much you enjoy your time together. Bake those cookies with a smile and a song. Sew that blanket and send love to the person you’re sewing it for (even if it’s for yourself)! Find moments to simply enjoy life – no matter what the task.