Please enjoy this entry from our guest blogger, Derrick. He is currently taking yoga teacher training with the Maritime Yoga College.
Week 13 - April 19th:
This past weekend of yoga teacher training was especially special as we gathered together in the countryside to share in our favourite foods, in practicing mindfulness, and gift giving. Yoga teacher training has been as much focused on illuminating our minds and strengthening our bodies, as it has been about opening our hearts; I believe that to be able to hold space and guide others through their yoga practice mindfulness and an open heart are essential.
Mindfulness and mind-full-ness are two separate phenomena. Mind-full-ness is common in our society as we are forever checking off lists, creating new lists, and moving from one task to the others without being fully aware of our bodily sensations and emotional state. Mindfulness is the intended practice of being present in the moment, of observing rather than concentrating or to perceive rather than to judge. Mind-full-ness is a condition of our fast-paced-modern-lifestyles whereas mindfulness is a timeless practice of being present and aware.
Mindfulness can be cultivated almost anywhere at anytime! You can practice mindfulness by aligning yourself to your breath and the sensations of your body and mind. You can ‘take a step back’ from your thinking process and just observe how thoughts arise without being intentionally thought. As you step back from your ever-flowing stream of thinking you free up space for yourself to just be and to just ‘see’ or perceive the world as it is. Such perception fosters presence which is absolutely necessary when sharing with others.
To be fully present with others is the greatest gift we can give. Often when we are with our friends and family our minds and our hearts are elsewhere - overwhelmed by how full our minds are. If we can connect to our breath, and take a moment to just observe we are better able to attune to the world around us and become incredibly present within the space and time of the moment. The present moment is the only time we have to exercise our great powers and so cultivating mindfulness is absolutely essential for unlocking our fullest potential!
When we are able to open up the space for ourselves, in order to achieve our greatest potential, we can do so for others. Healing ourselves and actualizing our greatness is a gift to the world, perhaps the greatest gift we can give.
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.