Many of us have PBG – presence-based guilt. We don’t focus or fully commit our attention or focus on one single thing, person, emotion or event. As a result, we feel guilt-stricken, anxious and start viewing ourselves as bad-this or bad-that.
Still, the world around us, with its infinite number of distractions and worries, is just too much. Staying present or just being present in the first place is an impossible task.
The irony is the pressure to be ‘present’ is coming from the places that make us anything but (Instagram, we’re looking at you). What’s more, we’re probably taking on PBG because others are projecting onto us. The cycle is never-ending.
Most of us recognise that we do need to find some time in our day or week where we at least try to be present. This goes beyond concentrating during a meeting, putting our phone away during dinner or helping others without counting down the minutes or hours.
Being truly present is about balancing a consciousness of our body’s movements and clearing our mind. Our brains are so stimulated, busy and occupied that anything other than this state can seem hard to imagine.
You’ve probably heard it before, but yoga (and pilates) is one of the most effective ways of dealing with PBG and trying to find the clarity of focus and mental stillness that we all ultimately know we need. This is because of the yoga incorporates the following three pillars:
Breathing helps us to zero-in on the life force in our body and to become conscious of our needs. Once we notice our breathing, and practice breathing in and out, our mind is concentrating on sending signals through our body to breathe in a prescribed way. This begins the process of clearing the mind of thoughts and feelings that typically stand in the way of being present. We’re consumed with thinking about breathing and nothing else.
Awareness, especially of our body’s movements and how we feel, is another way of feeling present. Deepening awareness of what we’re doing, in concert with our recognition of how we’re breathing, helps us feel more grounded. Noticing how we’re acting or responding to our environment, and then having an intention for our yoga session, all contribute to a sense of awakening and laser focus that are required for being truly present.
Stillness might seem a lost cause and at odds with trying to breathe and bring awareness to our minds and bodies. However, working hard to achieve and understand the need for stillness is an essential step on our journey to being present and unifying mind, body and spirit. Breathing and awareness are also good preparations for being still – tuning in to our bodies and grounding ourselves takes away the brain chatter and ensures we come to a complete stop.