Being Present

pilates_0466Being present and aware, we notice things. Sometimes it seems the things we are supposed to see appear … or maybe that it’s we are open to seeing them. Have you ever noticed after a friend mentions a movie, you see an advertisement for it? I believe you notice the advertisement because you are aware. It is also possible there were others you missed before you become aware of the movie.

My stepsons and I used to play a game in the car where we would see who could spot the most yellow cars. It passed the time and played well to all of our competitive spirits. At first it seemed there were no yellow cars but once we began looking and became more aware we spotted yellow cars all over! We tried this game with red cars and found out very quickly there are far too many red cars out there 😉

One of things I’ve been pondering is being present. What do I mean by that? It’s enjoying the moment. It’s not thinking about the next thing while doing something we should be enjoying. Always at our fingertips, smart phones make it very easy to be distracted and not in the moment. I’ve found myself in the midst of a Pilates class I am taking as a student looking at the clock. I’m not counting down the minutes till it’s over. I’m enjoying my experience, but my mind is wandering to how much longer? This is one of the reasons I do not have a clock in my studio.

I have done the same at the movies watching a film that I’m enjoying. How much longer till it’s over? I’m not wishing it would end but I think our minds are often so focused on the next thing we forget to let go and enjoy where we are.

This is why I like to read real hardcover books and have resisted downloading books. I don’t want to be pulled away by text messages, articles, emails and so on. When I read a paper or hardback book – the book gets my full attention. It feels indulgent to be able to just take that time to enjoy reading and disconnect!

Recently while on vacation in Aruba, I left my headphones in the room while at the beach. Usually, I’m plugged in while laying in the sun or shade. This time I decided to enjoy my surroundings, hear what I hear, relax, and unplug. I thoroughly enjoyed this way to beach. I enjoyed hearing the waves, the birds, chatter from other loungers, and I enjoyed getting lost in a book. I was present.

Lately, in Pilates while I am practicing, I have been turning the music off. I initially thought this would be awful! I’m so used to being stimulated by music, tv, etc … could I really be ok with just my thoughts and the sounds made by the reformer and my breath? YES! Turning off the music has allowed me to check in more with my body. To focus on what I am feeling and what I am not feeling. I’m less aware of the time and more present in my workout. I find I am more creative in what I do. My mind is freer to focus on the task at hand.

I believe all of our minds could use a little break from the constant over-stimulation. This is one of the reasons I try to give thoughtful guidance but don’t talk nonstop during your session about what you should be feeling or doing. How could you be present and feel if you also have to focus on what I want you to feel the entire time? A little bit of silence forces you to check in and connect!

If you’d like to try your Pilates session without music – just ask!

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