Being present is more about intention than action. You can be present doing any task as long as you make an effort to be aware. Here are a few of my favorite everyday moments that I try to savor the present moment.
1. Take a Walk. One of my favorite ways to be present is to take my sweet dog for a walk. It’s nice to enjoy each other’s company, take in the sights and sounds of nature, and greet our neighbors (and their friendly pooches). Besides yoga, it’s the one thing I do every day where I can really feel myself living in the moment.
2. Take a Breather. As yoga students, we tend to think of mindful breathing (pranayama) as a practice that takes place sitting on a meditation cushion or under the guidance of a teacher before or after the asana portion of class. But, really, the opportunity to follow our breath is with us no matter where we are or what we’re doing. All we have to do is pay attention!
3. Do Your Chores–Mindfully! Let me just go on record by saying I hate, despise, abhor chores… especially doing the dishes. But I’m trying to shift my thinking so that the experience is one of delight rather than misery. It might seem like a leap, but just think about the warm water, the suds on your skin, the fresh scent of the soap wafting through the air. It’s not a lot different from a bubble bath if you think of it that way. Our chores are opportunities for mindfulness, and since it’s something we have to do every day already we don’t have to schedule out a big block of our time to practice it!
4. Feel the Sunshine, Breeze, or Chill on Your Skin. When I’m practicing yoga, I bring myself into the present moment by feeling sensations as my muscles are stretched and challenged. During the rest of the day, one of the most effective ways for me to be present is to notice the tactile sensations as my skin experiences the outward world. It’s easy outside because sensation is everywhere! Inside, sometimes it’s just the “click-click-click” feeling of my keyboard beneath my fingers that zaps me right into the moment.
5. Close Your Eyes. When you close your eyes your senses are drawn inward, so your focus naturally goes from the external to the internal. I know when I’m in the midst of a busy or tumultuous day taking a moment to close my eyes for a few moments and remind myself what it feels like to be in my body is all I need to recharge.
Read about about my first experiences with the concept of being present here.
What simple ways do you remind yourself to live in the present moment?