For exclusive access to all our stories, including sequences, teacher tips, video classes, and more, join Outside+ today.
Live Be Yoga ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg are on a road trip across the country to share real talk with master teachers, explore innovative classes, and so much more—all to illuminate what’s in store for the future of yoga. Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.
Jeremy and I are about six weeks into this six-month tour. From one city to the next, one “home” to the next, one studio to the next, one restaurant to the next, one task to the next, we are learning to live a life of constant movement and change. On top of that, this is a temporary experience that is serving as a transition from one point in our lives to the next. Transition on top of transition… on top of transition. When your life literally is transition, it is not easy to cultivate a sense of presence. It’s a test on our psyche—and an opportunity to choose to use our yoga tools, yet again. Yes, it is a choice.
When I Google transition, the definition that pops up is: “The process or period of changing from one state or condition to another.” This is often a theme that yoga teachers use in their classes, and what they are referring to is the presence available in the moments between each pose. Whether you are inhaling as you lift your arms toward the sky or you are moving from Warrior II to Chaturanga, there are brief moments in which you are simply breathing and feeling the movement. It allows you to use the practice to go deeper into your awareness, which is a beautiful takeaway and practical metaphor for life.
In the journey off the mat, transitions are often the most uncomfortable moments. They may be short in relation to the years we are on this earth, but in comparison to those short pauses between each inhale and exhale, they are long. And nobody likes to be uncomfortable. In general, we want to: know what to expect; have all the answers; feel secure; take control of a situation; and be immediately healed from heartache or injury. We don’t want to go through the process to get to the next point—we just want to be there already.
I have been pondering this, along with how to stay grounded, more present, deal my own mental pressure, manage time, and actually absorb more of these special, one-time moments on this tour. Sometimes things move so quickly that they feel like a whirlwind, and I have a hard time soaking in the essence of each city and each experience. So, time and time again, it’s back to the tools yoga offers me. I am sure this will continue to be an evolving practice in itself. After all, rigidity doesn’t seem like the right answer to a life in constant flow.
So far the things that have been most helpful to me are some of the most basic lessons yoga offers. Here are six ways I’ve been helping myself stay present:
1. Stop and intentionally breathe to calm the mind and nervous system.
2. Slow down and be mindful in each movement.
3. Keep up with my own daily practice. (I’m still working on this one myself.)
4. Take short moments to check in with myself and bring awareness to how I am feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically. Then move forward in a way that is most beneficial and productive.
5. Remind myself that stress is a choice. It is my duty to take care of my well-being.
6. Keep up with self-care practices (my favorite go-tos are the Skin Food Cream and Arnica Massage oil from Weleda).
The way I apply each of these principles may vary based on the situation, but for the most part, these simple and basic mindfulness tools are useful in most instances. When I take a step back and see a larger view of what is currently going on, I’m able to, first, see what is most important and let the little things go, and second, understand how these moments of transition actually help me grow the most. The moments that are uncomfortable, are hurtful, or push us to our limits—and how we choose to handle them—are where we all must mindfully choose to practice yoga because it’s where transformation takes place. The real practice is not about how to move quickly through the moment of transition but how to find the presence and awareness in these little spaces within the bigger moments.
Transition is a chance to expand, move forward, and let go of those pieces of life that are no longer adding value or are weighing you down. The opportunity of this tour has presented Jeremy and me with a challenge to practice what we preach. It will push us to adapt and grow quickly, and we must be prepared, on the daily, to put our yoga tools into practice, so we may thrive in this place and the next. It’s fitting that Live Be Yoga is truly testing us on how we live and be yoga.