Presence. A gift more valuable than money.

It is time for shavasana. The room begins to still and quiet and I take my final glances across the space. I observe to make sure that everyone seems settled and comfortable and safe. I find my seat and make myself comfortable and begin systematically relaxing my own muscles and breath. I then put my focus on holding space. 

It is in the final minutes of the yoga practice that I wholly focus on sending out my energy, gratitude, and love to the students who showed up to share their space and time with. I literally try to burst from sending it out. It is in the final minutes that I reflect on the practice and watch my thoughts flow. After shavasana, I shared some thoughts in class on Friday and had such an overwhelmingly supportive response from my students how touching they were and some asking me to share that I will try and remember what all came pouring out in that moment. 

I’ve been reflecting on presence a lot lately. How I can be more present and how I can integrate it as a teaching lesson. So to paraphrase….

“Our time is finite. In the big scheme of things it is fleeting and presents just small blip on the radar. I did a post today on social media about being more present in different aspects. As silly as it sounds to talk about social media here, I’ve made a choice to practice presence there so that action will translate to all aspects of my life that need attention. If I like or comment or your post, it means I took the time to read your words, not just look at your picture. I want you to know I find your content much more compelling than your image. We all probably know people who cannot even sit through a dinner without scrolling through a phone right? We’ve become addicted to swiping left or right and up or down and cannot focus for more than 5 seconds at a time. We cannot seem to manage reading past 120 characters, or whatever Twitter limits it to. I used to love to read. I would consume a book in a night, but now I find it hard to focus and finish one a month. I am trying to change my ability to focus and be present on social media so that I can show up everywhere else as well. 

As a student, each time you share your practice with me, know that you are sharing your time, your energy, and your presence. It is a gift you bestow upon me and every other teacher you show up for, not the other way around. Your time is your most precious gift and it is one whose value is limitless. It is more valuable than any amount of money. So, I invite you to start to reflect upon who and what you spend your time on? When you are showing up for others, giving them your most precious gift, is your worth being reflected back? Are you spending your time on those who may not be appreciating it? Are there others who might appreciate it more? What about the activities you are spending your time on. Are you rushing your way through or completing them with distraction? Is that translating to other areas of your life?

It can be easy and catch-phrasey to say “Be Present”, but the reality of it is not easy. Is there one place in your life where you find yourself not practicing presence and is there one literal, non-esoteric way that you can find to bring more awareness to it. We have amazing philosophy in yoga and some wonderful ideals, like that of dharana, which crudely defined is working towards honing our concentration. But they can be hard to practice in our day to day Western world. How can we make them more literal and real and work for us? 

You chose to spend your Friday night with me, you gifted me with your attention and your time, your presence, and your energy and for that I am beyond grateful. Thank you” 

I never know if my words make an impact or if I am just rambling. My words at the end of practice are never planned and they often come rushing out a little jumbled, imperfect, but they are always backed by the voracity of my heart and passion. I want to share my appreciativeness for those of you who approached me and let me know you were touched. You let me know that I am on the right path.

I never regret being present for sunsets!