Off the Mat Yoga

How To Be Present When That Doesn’t Come Easily

How do you “be here” when your heart is stretched between two places? How do you stand strong and find stillness in life’s ever ebbing, flowing—and sometimes raging—waters?

How do you claim the truth in “This is where I am right now…” when you can’t feel it?


If you have any clues or tips how to do this, let me know. I’ve been trying to answer these queries for months now. I think I’m finding that the answer isn’t at the end of some process—it is the process.  And this is the path toward feeling the truth I know is there.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

It sounds cliché because we’ve seen it almost a thousand times on Pinterest. But there’s truth there. And every time you step, every time you go to continue the journey, that’s another single step. It’s like stepping on the mat again – whether it’s been an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year…

For me, lately, it hasn’t always been easy to “be here”, but through it all, this is how yoga is helping ground me.


You see, there’s been a bit of a shift for me. It was relatively “easy” to practice presence and “be where I was” when where I was happened to be in the midst of a grand adventure set to the backdrop of the bluest seas under the gorgeous Grecian sun, with new friends who made it home. I felt I’d found a purpose in each day. And oh, did I mention that whole falling in love thing? Because that was pretty great, too…

If you look at the highlight reel, my life from September 2015-July 2016 seems almost like a movie (although I didn’t end up sharing any pants with my friends…) But what the movies don’t show you, is what happens after the credits. [tweet_dis]After the last scene fades out with a sunset and the characters’ lives go on and they have to return to reality.[/tweet_dis] The movies don’t tell you, but most of the time those characters have to get on a plane and – go back.

And that’s the behind-the-scenes I got to experience firsthand. On a plane that carried me back to the place and people who had been my home for all my life, but away from love and the place and people who quickly claimed a piece of my heart as a home away from home. It was the closing of a chapter I wasn’t finished living (er, reading). I’d been dreading the transition for months and wasn’t ready to start penning a new one. I rather liked the old one.

That’s how I found myself “home,” but struggling to fully “be” home. This is where I am right now. And yet, I found myself struggling to find a sense of peace and presence in these familiar surroundings that now felt so foreign. I have a lot of good things going for me, and I am actively trying to appreciate them… But I miss, with every fiber of my being, the life I had made, the adventure I had found around every corner, the season of growth and discovery that had helped me to find and define myself.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]I’m trying to seek that adventure still, to make my own happiness happen here, to create my life. It’s not easy…[/tweet_box]

There’s a certain amount of grieving you go through when a season ends. I knew that on some level.  Experience though, is the best, and most brutal, teacher…I thought having a plan would help and so I set intentions before I left that I wanted to practice mindful habits and strive to be present in this transition and new season. (Easier said than done…)

Maybe you know, maybe you’re here, too.

It’s a daily practice of working toward okayness and being where you are and being okay. One of the ways I am seeking to to make real this intention is through yoga. And although the rest of my life feels rather… ebby and flowy … yoga is something I can turn to whenever I need to—daily or multi-daily even. And with PBYP, I had a schedule and a rhythm and a mantra to mark and help make each of my days.

Fast forward… it’s been nearly a year of yoga (PBYP style) and saying to myself “I am perfect exactly as I am. I am exactly where I need to be. “ … realizing the true measure of what it takes to be a teacher… a daily effort to be present…  and a whole lotta ebbing and flowing …

This is where I am right now.

I’m still doing yoga. [tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]And from my down dog to my up one, I’m realizing new horizons and that my body is capable of more than I’d imagined.[/tweet_box] Yoga isn’t giving me the “perfect body” the magazines advertise, but it’s changing me from the inside out, unveiling a strength that’s laid within, and helping me to (slowly) realize that a stronger version of my own, already-body is more worth seeking. I don’t always believe the mantra, but I’m repeating it daily until I do. I’m trusting the process until I feel it. I know it’s true, and one day I’ll look up and feel it. I’ll realize this really is where I’m supposed to be. I’ve been here all along.

My path isn’t certain. It’s definitely not always easy to practice an attitude of gratitude or to seek presence in the moments we’ve been given.

But. Here I am.

This is where I am right now…

Yogis, have you ever struggled to adjust to a new (or a new-old) place or situation?

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