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Being Present

This is not the blog post I was planning to write. However, as events unfolded this week in this world we inhabit, this is the blog post that came forth...I hope you find it helpful. This week the President of the United States threatened war with North Korea, and North Korea responded with threats to bomb the U.S. military base on the island of Guam, making the possibility of nuclear war again a very real possibility. Regardless of whether this is the rhetoric of powerful egos or whether it carries truth, the earth is also responding to the greed and overconsumption that human beings have imposed upon her for far too long. Whether climate change or war will bring us the next disaster, we cannot live in fear of what lies ahead. Besides living our lives responsibly and consciously, this serves as a reminder to enjoy whatever time we have with our loved ones. There are no guarantees in life. We have only this moment. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. And that makes this moment all the more precious. Being mindful is essential in being present. "All it involves is paying attention to your experience from moment to moment. This leads directly to new ways of seeing and being in your life because the present moment, whenever it is recognized and honored, reveals a very special, indeed magical power: it is the only time that any of us ever has. The present is the only time that we have to know anything. It is the only time we have to perceive, to learn, to act, to change, to heal, to love. That is why we value moment-to-moment awareness so highly." - Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living The practice of yoga teaches us to be present in our our minds. To let go of everything else and just be in the moment. To feel what you are experiencing right here, right now. To experience contentment. I spoke of contentment in last week's blog on the niyamas. Santosha is the quality of being content in the moment. Realizing we are inherently whole and complete, unaffected by lifes' challenges. Through this practice, we are able to welcome all that life brings as a blessing, not becoming too attached to life's pleasure or getting too wrapped up in life's pain. Being content to just be here. Now. Here's a practice to help cultivate santosha, contentment. Sitting in sukhasana or in a comfortable chair with your sitbones firmly grounding down, and your spine erect, relax your shoulders and arms. Bring your hands into your lap and touch your finger tips together in front of you. Extend your thumbs straight up (chaturmukham mudra - see photo above). Rest your wrists comfortably against yur abdomen. Lengthen through the back of your neck, and tuck your chin in lightly engaging jalandara bandha, letting your mind rest in your heart. Take a deep breath into your heart center, feeling your ribs expand. As you exhale, feel your heart soften. Begin to let go of anything that is on your mind. Observe whatever comes up and let it go. Let all thoughts and worries cease. Say 3 times to yourself, "I recognize the contentment of my essential being. I live simply and joyfully. I am grateful for this moment." (Inspired by Mudras for Healing and Transformation by Joseph and LIlian Le Page). Continue to breathe in and breathe out and just observe the breathe. Sit for 10 minutes or more if you are able. This practice is essential in cultivating contentment and being present with ourselves, and with each other in the days to come. The more you practice being mindful, the more it will become natural to you in every waking moment. Because, all we really have - all that is promised to us - is this moment before us. Now. Namaste.

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