Have you ever caught yourself living somewhere else in your mind, far away from your physical body? I have caught myself living in the future, planning for all the things I want. I have caught myself living in the past, wishing I could go back and do something differently. I have also caught myself in the void of avoidance of the present. My mind travels to different realities veering from the present moment. This has affected my personal relationships, my professional relationships, group settings, and my relationship with myself. So, I find myself asking more frequently, how can I be present in this moment right now.

            The mind can take us on far away journeys, across the world, into the future, wherever we let it wander. But what are we missing when the mind and body aren’t working together to see what is lying in front of us.  I have found that I miss the beauty of Mother Earth as the seasons settle in, wishing for a change. I have found that I miss the laughter of a child as I think about what I have to accomplish later. I have found that I miss the brilliance of discovery on someone’s face as their knowledge grows deeper. The present moment is this state of being that is ever shifting.

            I have put strains on relationships by not living in my soma now.  My mind wishes to be other places than where I am in the moment. I miss out on opportunities to love deeper and grow roots to connect. I take away from groups as I do not contribute to my fullest capacity. And as I am not in the present I cultivate this hunger for more beyond my reach. The beauty is though, I get to choose to come back to the present moment and experience all the glory of being mindful in the moment.

            So how do I stay present in the moment? For me I found that having and showing gratitude has kept me grounded in the moment. When I am thankful for all that I have right now, my mind does not try to drift off in to remote destinations. We can’t hit the rewind button and get moments back, so I choose to soak in the greatness of the moment. Having gratitude can shift and transform the mind. With listing three simple things every day, I have seen a transformation in my mindfulness.

            Meditation has also been a guiding hand for me to stay in the moment. There are many types of meditation like, walking meditation, guided meditation, visualization, candle light meditation, using a manta or a chant, and the list goes on as each person has their own unique way to meditate. As I start to practice and train the mind to shift focus from elsewhere to the present moment it becomes easier and easier.

            My practice of staying present is not perfect, but my recognition of catching myself between realms has quickened. I am able to stay in a distant place for a shorter amount of time, because I realize I am not present more easily.  By submerging myself in the Yoga North community and loved ones, I feel the support and love to stay present. I have learned more tools to stay with the flock of loved ones, and to keep myself from wandering off on my own away from this soma. Go on and find what makes you connected to the present moment. Maybe it is a walk in the cool air, hands dug into a garden, silliness with a child, a yoga class, a community built around love, the freshness of a good book, or simple time to sit and become aware. The love and gratitude we have for our lives is endless, as each moment brings about new blessings. The wandering mind has nothing compared to the present moment.

Yoga North ISYI Allie Dittmer
** Allie Dittmer is currently enrolled in Yoga North’s +350/500 Hour/Level I Yoga Therapy Training **