Mindfulness: Newspapers and Yoga Mats
by WYC teacher, Jane DiSanto
One of the ways we can practice mindfulness during yoga is to simply stay present to how we feel and what we feel at each moment of the practice. Of course, that is easier said than done, because our human mind likes to wander away. Statistics show that our minds wander up to 95% of the time! Each time we catch ourselves reliving something that already happened, daydreaming, or looking ahead to plan, we just acknowledge it and kindly guide ourselves back to the breath and the body awareness of the stretch or posture in the moment. That
is the practice of mindfulness. It's not about clearing or emptying the mind. That is not possible or desirable. And it's not that planning ahead or enjoying memories are not good things, but 95% of the time?! With repeated practice, we are able to live more of our lives in this moment, which is all we really have.
Jack Kornfield likens practicing mindfulness to a puppy being trained to "go" on the newspapers. You put the puppy on the papers and tell him to stay, and he runs off. You put him back on and tell him to stay, and he runs off. You do this over and over again - as many times as he runs off, you put him back on and tell him to stay. Eventually, he figures it out. We are a little slower than puppies, but with practice, enjoying more present-moment awareness does happen.
So, think of your yoga mat as a place of practice for mindful living. While mindfulness may not be a panacea, it is something that can make a very big difference in our health, and the health of our communities. Here's to healthy minds and healthy lives! See you on your mat in the present moment!