If We Aren’t in the Present, We Are Nowhere.

Via Carly Mountain
on Sep 8, 2012
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I had a moment in savasana this morning that was like giving birth.

I had two very positive labor experiences with my children, both the most honest experiences of true “yoga” that I have ever experienced. Why? Because I was forced to truly “be” in the present moment.

Both labors were very long and at times challenging, but each time my mind tried to race ahead by even one contraction something deep inside me said “No stay where you are. Can I deal with this contraction?” and as a result, yes was always the answer. I am positive that this is what allowed me to give birth safely and calmly.

The kids both felt it too, in that neither of my babies heart rates increased as they went into the birth canal (which I am told by the midwives is rare) and neither of them cried when they arrived.

They, like me, felt completely at home.

Children are fantastic examples of yoga—they are always present. As we grow and the ego develops, this becomes more challenging.

Admittedly, labor is an extreme experience in life and a rare one, in that you know you can’t get out of it and you have to go through it. You are on the journey whatever it may bring. But isn’t life itself like that?

Life is a series of births and deaths—some physical and some metaphorical—but essentially if we are to live in yoga, the present moment is the only one we have.

Interesting isn’t it that the French term for an orgasm is “petit mort” which translates to “the little death?”

We cannot predict the future, it is a waste to live in the past and yet we race forward making plans and waste energy replaying the past. Death is just around the corner—for all of us it is the only certain thing about life. And embracing it is actually one of the most life-full things we can do.

Isn’t it true that when you lose something you really appreciate, you value the things you have more?

Increasingly I feel more certain that the juxtaposition of life and death is the essence of being.

As I lay there in savasana, I had a moment of being completely open, relaxed and grounded and happiness came through me. As it did, a smile came onto my face and then my brain kicked in, “wow that feels great, that was like labor, that’s interesting…” and in this revelation the moment had already gone. I laughed and came downstairs to write this.

On Monday in a discussion about headstand one of my students very astutely commented, “as soon as you ‘have’ anything it’s dead,” and it’s true. A thought, a perfect posture, a perfect moment—as soon as you grasp it it’s gone.

This means that these highs and lows of life start to become the same thing. You cannot hang on to the “good”and yet the “bad” will pass—here and gone.

If we are not in the present we are nowhere and that’s all we have.


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About Carly Mountain

Carly Mountain is a teacher and student of yoga. She teaches from her studio Yoga Boutique Sheffield in Yorkshire, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. From a creative background, Carly has studied a wealth of movement practices. But it is yoga that has really unraveled her. "Through daily practice we begin to realise there is nothing to add but plenty to drop. In teaching I aim to nurture, show and inspire people to dare to move, feel, share, laugh, sometimes fall over. Why not!?...we are only here for a short time. And I am celebrating!" Carly loves marrying together words and pictures, for more info you can connect with Carly on Facebook, Twitter or via her website.


12 Responses to “If We Aren’t in the Present, We Are Nowhere.”

  1. Beautifully written, Carly. I think this realization starts to become even more important as one gets older.

    I know that's one of the reasons I was attracted to Yoga philosophy–to help me (hopefully gradually) prepare for death. See What is "That" and Why am I "That"?.

    Bob W. elephant journal
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    Yoga Demystified, Gita in a Nutshell

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bob. It’s beautifully timed that this post went up this week, as though I wrote it a while ago I lost someone very close to me this week and it has served as a great reminder of the bigger picture.
    I enjoyed your piece What is “That”? and Why am I “That”? Raised a smile to my face. A very positive and appropriate start to Sunday morning. Thank you.

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  7. Mike says:

    Excellent insight into being present Carly, and very well written….

    Being present is something I find difficult having a typical 'monkey mind' but doing yoga over the years has brought being present closer for me at least. I think my first true experience of being present was while skiing, a sport which requires concentration and physical effort, and I felt so relaxed afterwards. Many years after that skiing experience practising yoga is how I feel present now, and I am so glad I discovered it!

  8. Thanks Mike always lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your insights….I am glad I discovered it too 🙂 practice practice practice is the key and on the most part thoroughly enjoyable too.

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