I could have titled this blog: Being Present to the Present is a Present. In my opinion, it is the best present you can give yourself.
Give yourself this gift right now with 5-simple practices to bring you fully into the present moment.
Present Moment Practice #1: Read a poem
Poetry describes things to us in ways that our whole body and being can fully comprehend the meaning. It helps us to move beyond the structure of our mind and into the space of our soul.
Here’s a poem on the present moment to help you understand what being present in the moment is and to open you up to being more present.
PEACE IN THE WILDERNESS by Aranna Sutta
Standing to one side of him, a deva said to the Buddha:
These people who dwell in wild places,
living a life so peaceful and simple,
Eating just one meal a day,
How is it that they look so serene?
The Buddha said:
They are not sorrowing about the past
or longing for the future.
They are living in the present.
That’s why they look so serene.
It is by sorrowing about the past
and longing for the future
that foolish people wither away,
like green reeds drying in the sun.
How often are you living fully present to nature in a wild place? Are you eating too much? Wanting too much? Always looking for something outside of yourself?
Take the next 15-minutes to reflect on this poem and to allow its insights to arise within you.
Present Moment Practice #2: Go into Nature
Open your door and walk out into whatever nature is around you. Be it a bit of grass in front of your apartment, a tree lining the street, a nature trail in the park or a trip to the mountains, ocean or some other wild place.
What keeps you from spending time in nature? How can you bring more of the natural world into your life?
Spend 10-minutes with the natural world you are in. Hug the tree, sit in the grass, hike the trail or jump into the ocean. Notice how you feel after just a few moments of connecting to nature.
Present Moment Practice #3: Scan Your Body
Do this first thing in the morning.
While lying down on your yoga mat take a few deep, mindful breaths. Feel your breath moving in and out of your body. Feel how your body moves with your breath. It rises up a bit as you inhale and releases down as you exhale; like the waves of the ocean lifting you up and setting you down.
Move your awareness to your toes. Focus your attention on your toes. How are your toes feeling? Wiggle your toes. What sensations are they experiencing?
Move up to your feet. Place them flat on the ground by bending your knees. Focus your awareness on your feet. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
After a few moments of focused attention, move up to your ankles. Keeping your knees bent, pick your feet up off the floor and turn your ankles one way then the other. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
Set your feet to the floor and move your attention up to your lower leg and calves. Straighten your legs and pull your toes toward your shins and point your toes. Go back and forth, How are your calves feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
After a few moments, move your attention up to your knees. Bend your knees and squeeze them together, hold and release after a few seconds. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
Now, move your attention up to your upper legs. Bend your knees and bring them into your chest. Extend your heels to the ceiling and hold. How are the backs of your legs feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
Release your knees back into your chest and focus your attention on your hips, buttocks, and pelvic bowl. Make circles on your sacrum, going both directions. How does this area feel? What sensations are you experiencing?
Keep your knees bent and bring your feet to the floor. Focus your attention on your lower belly and back. Push into your heels and feel your lower back lengthen onto the floor. How does your low back feel? How does your belly feel? What sensations are they experiencing?
After a few moments of focused attention, move up to your upper belly and mid-back. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing? Do you feel your diaphragm moving as you breathe?
Roll your inner arms out flipping your palms up and move your attention to your upper back, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
Now, move up to your neck, jaw and ears. Open your mouth as wide as you can and release. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
After a few moments of focused attention, move up to your eyes. Squeeze them tight and open them wide. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
After a few moments of focused attention, move up to your head and brain. Feel your brain resting heavily in the back of your skull. How are they feeling? What sensations are they experiencing?
This will put you in a mindful state right away and it will help you notice when your body is feeling different than normal. Any place that feels “off” you can breathe into, put a ball in that spot or move intuitively to possibly ward off an injury or illness.
Doing the Ageless Movement Practices every day will give you a way to scan your body and move it in ways to release pain, tension, and disease. Click here to learn more.
Present Moment Practice #4: Just Breathe
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing you can drop into your breath to find the present moment.
Posture yourself to breathe by bringing your tail down, your ribs in toward your spine, and down toward your pelvic bowl. Roll your inner arms out allowing your head and neck to be loose and free.
Breathe into your nose and out of your mouth saying, “haaaaa” and allowing your jaw to be loose.
Breathe into your belly and up to your heart. Breathe off your heart and down into your belly.
Start to lengthen your exhale and hold the bottom of the out-breath for the mantra of “let go”.
After several breaths, notice how calm you are and notice how everything but the breath has dropped away.
Present Moment Practice #5: Get lost in the thing you love to do
When you know what you love to do — like I love to swim in the ocean or like my friend, Shilo loves to dance, so much so that she is about to dance on Broadway — do it. Get lost in it.
This is easy if you know what you love to do but if you don’t… it is time to explore your passions. Take a poetry class, buy some watercolors, go for a bike ride or whatever you believe you love to do, and see what happens.
Never stop exploring until you’ve found your thing you can get absolutely so caught up in that everything else goes away and you are fully in the present moment!
Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. Wayne Dyer
Enjoy this moment and live into the next!
How do you drop into the present moment? Let us know in the comments below.