What is the most important thing in your life, at various points throughout your day?
- Is it your family?
- Your job?
- Your living situation?
- Your status?
- Your love life?
- Your financial well-being?
- Your children’s success and happiness?
- Your friendships?
- Your religious views?
- Your political beliefs?
It might be hard to choose from that list, or it might change from hour to hour. But what if the answer is – ultimately – none of the above?
What about being alive?
There is so much noise all around us, that in most day-to-day moments, we completely forget about the simple fact and miracle of being alive. There is noise outside us in the form of people and to-do-lists. And there is noise inside us in the form of thoughts, plans, stories, identities, worries, memories, desires, and all the things we think are important. But without your life, there is none of that.
So what is the most important thing in your life?
All of the noise?
Or your life itself?
Practicing paying attention to life
If you come to the conclusion that your life is the most important thing in your life, what are you supposed to do next? Throw out all of the noise and the other things?
You can just start by paying attention to life. You can do this at any moment, in any location, and under any set of circumstances.
You can do this even more effectively with a physical yoga practice, by holding completely still in certain positions and paying attention to your life processes.
You can feel the intensity of your heart beating, your lungs working, your blood circulating, or your organs stretching or being compressed, just as a starting point.
Yoga is not a stretching class. It is simply a process of reducing the noise and becoming more sensitive to the miraculous reality that you are alive.
Ann Chrapkiewicz, M.A., is the founder and director of Bikram Yoga Capital Area in East Lansing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org