the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
I wiggle my toes in soft green grass in my backyard. After a year of building our house, it’s a delight to see any color other than brown. Peonies, irises and salvia are bursting open after a long winter’s nap. Butterflies, bees and birds flutter about our new landscape.
“We are most at peace when we stay in the present moment in reality. Our imagination mixed with emotions cause us the most pain.” ~ Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat
June is a great time to observe the change from spring to summer. Temperatures begin to rise. Trees dropped their blooms and are preparing to shade with their leaves. Grass grows abundantly after an afternoon thunderstorm.
My children are constant reminders to slow down, and notice what’s happening around us. My daughter points out new birds and butterflies. She checks our vegetable garden to see if there are any tomatoes or watermelons. She senses the seasonal change, and embraces all the beauty around us.
Take a mini vacation or meditation by practicing being present. Here are a few ways to get you started.
Off the Mat:
Grab a piece of paper and pen. Go outside to a bench, your car, your porch, or the park. Choose a color, and look around for 10 minutes focusing on that color and where it appears in your environment. Then, write down whatever comes to your mind for the next five minutes. Don’t pay attention to grammar, punctuation or spelling. Your writing is an extension of your mind and its thoughts. After you’ve finished, look up from your writing to your view. Notice how much more vibrant the scenery is.
On the Mat:
Each pose presents an opportunity to practice being present. Let’s choose a balancing pose like tree pose. Come into the pose by rooting the right foot into the earth and placing the left foot to the inside of the ankle, calf or thigh (not the knee, please). Draw your hands together at your heart. Breathe and focus on your standing leg only. Notice if you wobble, and recruit your core to help stabilize and prevent swaying. Breathe into your heart and stand taller. Come out of the pose, and try the left side. After you’ve finished, note what was going on in your mind when your leg wobbled or was strong.
When we worry about our unpredicted future, our minds get jumbled and cause unnecessary stress. Breathing and focusing on what’s actually happening right now, right in front of us, will bring peace. Stop and smell the flowers.