I recall waiting for a lot of people throughout my life. When I was a little girl, I would sit in the dining room chair closest to the front door watching for my dad to arrive home from work. As a young woman, I’d wait for my mom to stop cleaning or bustling about and just sit and talk with me. As a wife, I’d wish for my then-husband to shut the computer down or close the newspaper and pay attention to me or us.
I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I stopped waiting for people. But those experiences made me want to prioritize the present moment. And yoga certainly helps me do that.
We come to the mat for many reasons. Yoga’s ultimate purpose, in essence, is described amongst the community as attaining peace and enlightenment through mind and body alignment. That summary involves many individual elements. Mindfulness is one of them.
Mindful: The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Yoga demands this. For example, if I want to attain Tree Pose, that requires rhythmic breath, an engaged core, focused gaze, steady balance, and all of my strength; there’s simply no room for thoughts of conference calls or weekend plans.
Living in the present moment brings infinite joy. I notice small wonders and fleeting beauty — my chickens finding a treasured worm in the ground or a shooting star next to a perfect crescent moon. I’m a better mother to my preteen daughter. The days and years with her aren’t a blur. I admire her long eyelashes or scattered freckles as we relax on our patio. She tells me about the stupid things boys do and her frustrations with math homework because she knows I’m listening and looking at her. And she sees me modeling mindfulness, self-care, and prioritization, whether that’s being a mom, meeting a deadline, or going to yoga class, even when I may not want to.
So I offer this: If ever you fear taking the time for yoga is taking too much time away from something else, I suggest that you’ll likely gain more value in the time you have by going and making strides toward more mindfulness and living in the present moment.
Deanna Glick has written for various publications and blogs for more than two decades. She took her first yoga class as a college student in California and visits the Flow Yoga studio in Leesburg often.