I have recently been reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, interested to hear a modern interpretation of yoga philosophy. He asks us to distinguish our life from our life situation. Our life situation describes what has happened in our past, and our speculations about our future. Our life is what is happening now, with this current breath.
Many people have lost, or under-utilise, the ability to fully engage in the moment by moment life experience. The rare moments of connection then seem wondrous, as for instance watching a beautiful sunset or a harvest moon rising above the horizon. Take a moment and recall a standout memory from your past... Does the memory just live in your head, or can you feel yourself starting to embody the experience: muscle relaxation, breath opening up, perhaps lengthening. Any change in mood or mental tone? So we can use held information in the mind to bring us into the now. But be aware, when we brought that memory back, we fully committed to the experience in the present moment, without simultaneously trying to do anything else.
The author goes on to encourage us to be at least as interested in what is going on inside of us as outside by checking in with ourselves regularly, noticing our internal weather and barometer readings, our sense of ease within. We can then adjust our course for the better. This skill is a big part of what we do in our asana practice, and it begins to creep into more and more moments of our day. The theory is, when we move ourselves into better harmony and wellness from within, our life situation also seems to find better balance. We plant the seeds, and some do take root.
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.