Module 2: The Art Of Becoming Present
Weeks Reading Material
The art of being present is an ongoing practice, or at least it is for most of my students and me. I hear from my students that this is the hardest thing they deal with while practicing yoga. With all of the daily distractions we have in today’s society, it is difficult to be fully present from moment to moment in life. Whether it is fully engaged in a conversation with your significant other, playing with your kids, listening to a friend, working on a project at work, or the simple pleasure of enjoying mealtime. Continually working on mastering this one benefit of yoga can be life-changing for you and those around you.
I have experienced this all and have had to untrain myself from checking into everyone else’s agenda before I take care of myself, family, or business needs first. I have seen how often my clients/students are “ON”. Primarily, from all the notifications that come from our phones when they are in a yoga class or massage session with me. Yes, our phones offer great convenience, but also a great distraction. They pull us away from being present and make us feel like we always have to be “ON.” The notifications put you in flight or fight mode and increase cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone. When we experience high stress daily or spend our time always on the go, it chronically increases our cortisol levels, and you start to see a negative impact on your health.
When we start eliminating these types of distractions, we start checking back into our lives, agendas, and our to-do lists. We check out of the inbox of others’ agendas and deadlines and lose the sense of urgency that we always have to respond immediately to those texts, emails, etc. You train your clients, friends, customers, and others how you respond. If you are responding after 5 or 6 p.m. or within minutes, you are teaching them to expect that. If you consistently respond within 24-48 hours, they will learn that you will always get back to them, but within your timeframe.
- At the beginning of your week, take a screenshot of your screen time for the past couple of weeks. Make a note in your journal where you spent most of your time that wasn’t necessary (Ex. Games, social media, etc.)
- Take notifications off your phone, except text. Keeping in mind that you don’t have to respond to a text right away.
- Check social media 1-2 times a day or less. If you know this is your weakness, set a timer for 10-15 minutes. When the timer goes off- no more. This is where self-discipline comes in.
- Set up time frames that you won’t check your phone. So cut off time for checking emails, returning texts, checking social media.
- Example: I won’t check my phone until after I have taken care of me, my kids, done what I need to in the morning, etc. At night set a time to be done on your phone. I would suggest at least an hour before going to bed. Use this time to read, meditate, or do something that is relaxing for you.
Be present while eating your meals. Start with one meal a day. If you know you are going to be tempted by checking your phone, put it off the table altogether.
Once I started becoming more mindful of ways to be present throughout my day, I realized how often I was multitasking while eating. I would return texts, work at my computer, go through the mail, and my girls’ school papers, etc. I still do this at times, but I have come to enjoy just eating without doing anything. Then I learned the science behind why it is very beneficial for you.
This info is from the nutritionist and friend that I mentioned previously, who helped me figure out why I was feeling bad.
- The emotional state we are in when we eat has just as much impact on our weight as WHAT we are eating. It starts before food even enters your mouth! It comes down to our Nervous System and whether we are in fight or flight (sympathetic) or rest and digest (parasympathetic) mode when we eat. If you’re in fight or flight mode (i.e. your body thinks a bear is chasing it), do you think that your brain is focusing on digesting the food you’re eating? Heck no! If you find that you are eating in a rushed or stressed state MOST of the time, your body is thinking about survival.
Your homework and challenge for this week is to pause. Begin to schedule time in your day to sit down and eat food. I know it may seem like a minuscule shift – but it’s these kinds of changes that add up day in and day out.
Learn to taste the food, notice the textures and smells, and chew each bite before the next. Try putting your utensil down in between each bite. You might be surprised that you start eating less because you are mindful while eating, and you notice when you are content.
Here is a testimonial of one of the football players I did yoga with. I challenged the players to be present in many ways, including when they eat. Here is what he has to say:
Transform the relationship with self
Checking in with yourself and giving your feelings and emotions a voice. Refer to your daily mindset cheat sheet to see this will be step 3 for your daily mindset work. It might seem like a lot at first, but once you get into a routine, it can take 10-30minutes.
It is important to minimize distractions so that you have the time and space to get the most out of the practice below.
You will be adding this to your daily journaling. This practice will help you learn to check in with your feelings/emotions and give them a voice. I have included a handout that gives a list of words for negative and positive feelings. I have noticed that my clients and people around me don’t always know how to give how they are feeling a voice; they don’t know what words to use. Also, we don’t check in with ourselves on a daily basis to see what we need. Whether it is a need that we can fulfill ourselves or one that we need to ask someone to help with.
Years ago I went through a coaching program where I learned this practice and it was very empowering for me. I realized how often I was powering through and not acknowledging how I was feeling or taking the time to fulfill my needs. I had to learn to slow down, to check in with myself, and to allow myself to fulfill my needs without feeling guilty. Sometimes my needs were as simple as allowing myself to take a nap even when there was so much to do because I knew my body really needed to catch up on sleep. Sometimes I’d treat myself to lunch. Other needs I have had to learn to ask my husband or kids to help with such as stuff around the house, pick up or drop off kids so that I can finish a work project, or giving me time to go do something fun with a friend. You don’t know until you ask. Start speaking up for what you want and need in a reasonable and respectful manner. I want you to continue this journaling practice throughout the rest of the program. I don’t journal this way anymore, but it has become a habit of checking in with myself and adjusting accordingly, and in a way that is feasible at the time, has become instilled in me.
You are going to cultivate a practice of checking in with how you are feeling and what you need. I want you to check-in with yourself on a daily basis and add it to your daily journaling.
Transforming Relationship With Self 1
Transforming Relationship With Self 2
Transforming Relationship With Self 3
Transforming Relationship With Self 4
Transforming Relationship With Self 5
Transforming Relationship With Self 6
Transforming Relationship With Self 7
Remember to email me the screenshots of your screen time from the past two weeks, your time frame for using your phone, and the one meal of the day you’re working on being more present for.
Please check out at your local library or buy The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
After implementing the concepts in the module for 1-2 weeks, for the women share in my Unplugged FB group and for you, men share on your personal FaceBook page what insights you gained with implementing the principles of becoming present. Make sure when you share in either place to reference you are a part of Teresa’s Unplugged Program.