Too often in our busy lives we get caught up making choices based on our past experiences or worrying about our future. This leaves little time to embrace the present and often leads to a sense of dissatisfaction and unrest in our lives. When we are able to embrace the present we truly experience the richness and gifts inherent in each and every life.
Thich Nhat Hanh says
"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."
This is also true of ourselves, when we are truly present with ourselves we too can also flourish and receive the many gifts and blessings that life showers upon us. When we embrace life, life becomes a beautiful, rich gift full of meaning and joy.
Is there something that you can do today, in this very moment, to open up to the endless possibilities and abundance of this Universe?
Can you open your arms in gratitude for the light on your face, even when faced with challenges?
Can you take one step forward, setting fear aside if only for a moment and embrace just one of the many gifts life offers to you in each and every moment?
Stop, just now, and open the palm of your hand. See what falls into it.
Yoga helps us to stay present, to be able to embrace each moment. Living a life through awareness, focus and action creates the pathway to our dreams becoming a reality. The Gift of Life is every living thing....The steps that we take....and the breath that we breathe reflects the movement and rhythm of all life
Breathing is the true gift of life that we all share, the breath unites us, it is the one thing we all have in common, one breath, one flow, one life here and now.
Yoga is a means of becoming more aware of our breath and of the magical effects that deep breathing brings to the body, your energy, and to your mind. Breathe deeply of this gift of life, embrace the essence of life and live your dreams.
Take a moment before we move into the practice to bring to mind a gift in your life that you are truly grateful for and think of somebody else that may benefit from this gift. As you practice tonight dedicate your practice as a gift to this person, set an intention and hold this in your mind and your heart as we practice tonight.
Breath awareness practice
- Come into a comfortable seated position.
- Gently closing your eyes, take your awareness within
- Begin to focus on your breath. Take your attention to the breath observing the inhalation and the exhalation.
- Begin by watching the natural breath without attempting to control it. Let the breath come and go. The breath is always there until it leaves the body at the end of our time, making it the most powerful tool we have for cultivating presence.
- Notice the quality of your breath. Are you holding your breath? Is the breath shallow or deep? Is the breath erratic or calm? The quality of our breath reflects our emotional state. When the breath is steady so is the mind. In order to live and keep the body healthy, we require not only food and water, but also air to breathe. The air we breathe is even more important than eating and drinking. Without food we can survive several weeks. Without water we can survive for a few days. However, without breathing we can survive for just a few minutes. Our life begins and ends with a breath.
- Observe the natural and spontaneous flow of the breath, the breath coming in and the breath going out.
- Feel the breath flowing in and out of the nose. Breathe in through the nose and out through the nose.
- Feel the expansion in the body as you drink deeply of this gift of life. Breathing in is the gift of receiving life and breathing out a surrender into infinite life.
- Begin to regulate the breath, establish a flowing rhythm to the breath, allow the breath to be quiet, slow and deep. Breathe deeply and fully with ease.
- Begin to equalise the inhalation and exhalation bringing balance to the breath, to the body and to the mind. The breath is the link between the body, mind and soul. By bringing these into unison we achieve yoga, unity.
- Within one breath, three phases can be distinguished
- Pause in breathing
- Observe the phases of the breath, the inhalation, pause, exhalation, pause. One phase flowing into the other. The pause in breathing arises naturally at the end of the exhalation phase and lasts until the impulse to inhale occurs of its own accord. In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali talks about finding infinity in the pauses of the breath (you can read more about this in the article on the kleshas)
- Feel the breath. Feel how the breath moves through your the lungs in stillness. Be aware of how the belly seems to fill first, then the middle of the chest, than the upper chest above the heart.
- Feel how on inhalation you feel lighter and on exhalation you feel grounded.
- Notice how inhalations initiate the desire to lift and exhales initiate the desire to release, sink and deepen. Feel the expansion with each inhalation, breath in fully, breathing in is the gift of receiving life.
- Relax the belly on each inhalation and notice how the breath naturally flows in, feel the gentle falling back into your centre with each exhalation.
- Our breath is expansive, it creates the space necessary for growth, the principle of freedom and emergence
Embracing Life by Margaret Jang http://margaretjang.com
For those who choose a path of beauty and simple grace,
open your arms wide for the life that you embrace.
Too often obligations, in your daily life,
interferes with knowing what is wrong or right.
To embrace life and merge, joy together with pain,
is to feel pleasure or fear, without guilt or shame.
It's how to meld your body with your mind and heart,
to cooperate together; this is how you start.
To embrace life is to trust, in who you truly are,
love yourself completely to heal all wounds and scars.
Then release control fully; let your shield fall down,
and accept the powerful force flowing all around.
Embracing life will bring, bliss beyond compare,
but first you must be open, then become aware.
Of nature and the universe far beyond the stars,
with the power of your mind you can travel far.
And material wealth is minor; irrelevant to your soul,
embracing life is important; reaching spiritual goals.
Always remaining true for how you think and act,
being positive in your outlook and how you react.
Enjoying every moment for the little things that count,
basking in the pleasure, which makes your happiness mount.
Embracing life will give you, the strength to clearly see,
that a simple life brings freedom that makes you truly free.