What is Mindfulness?

I found myself asking ‘WTF is mindfulness?’ in my head during yoga classes. ‘WTF is presence?’ I’d think when I heard a yogi explain what they liked about yoga. I could not even wrap my head around these little concepts that have integrated themselves so seamlessly into my life.

I feel these concepts are the barrier to entry when it comes to yoga or meditation for lots of people. In these practices we totally take on a new form of thought, a new way of being, or so it seems from the outside, and it’s an intimidating world to enter.

When I first started my regular practice, I bribed myself into it. I rewarded myself in terrible ways if I would go to class. Think fatty foods, lattes, ice cream - all the best of the terrible things. I would go to class and force my body in these poses thinking I knew what I was doing and I was totally WINNING at yoga. I ached so hard after class and I thought it was because I had a really great workout and it was all I needed to do to have a WINNING body. The classes were hard and I convinced myself that it was holistically healing me into a better person. The awakening after Savasana was me being born into a beautiful new, more enlightened state of being.

It didn’t work like that. At some point, somewhere along the line I realized the practice is not the means to an end, but it’s a never-ending journey. It’s what do I need today? How do I feel in this moment? Why do I feel like this right now? It’s introspection. Being in tune to how you feel.

All we aim for in presence, by being mindful, is to bring attention to this moment, while also being conscious of the moments to come. Let’s let go of all the external stimulation, the worldly chaos and nourish ourselves in the now, while being conscious, being mindful of the outcome and the person we want to be.

Life is long and has very few final moments. Once one goal is met, another is set. The end is seemingly never in sight. What we hope to do now, in the present is to enjoy the journey, and to continually make the choices of the person we want to be and of the way we want to feel.