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“Allow the emotion to ripen. Allow your grief and anger to flower and they will die their own natural death. Suppress them and they will fight for their existence. Stay in the stops between the breath. Stay in the gap between your thoughts.” – Dr. Lad B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc.

I imagine many of us found our way to our yoga practice through various stumbles- stumbles that eventually led us to a rolled-out mat on the floor. Our mats have held us in ways that confuse and challenge us- that ultimately, we need deeply.  The most invariable outcome each and every time I step onto my mat is the outcome of staying.  Staying with the fear, the hope, the anger, the love, the anticipation, the devastation – the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  When on the mat, breathing deeply and taking time to not be distracted, we begin the reversal back into the exploration of our body, our hearts, and minds. We find the truth of right where we are. Right where we are being perfectly blissful, or painful, or insightful.

Ayurveda says that nothing can be fully cooked and digested in terms of emotions, experiences and thoughts until we give it our undivided attention- allowing it to flower and then be released. Often, the biggest gift our yoga practice gives us is the space to stay, digest and ultimately let go.  Our strength in staying prepares us to be resilient, open and flexible in our daily lives.  Our bodies, our hearts and our spirits become capable and free, full of health and happiness.

Here are 5 ways we can practice staying present with our thoughts and emotions both on and off the mat:

  1. Turn Inwards with acceptance- (mat optional)

  2. Identify and label the feelings

  3. Recognize their impermanence

  4. Embrace curiosity- What is the discomfort I’m experiencing and where is it arising? Investigating the root of your thoughts and emotions will help you gain empathy and insights into what you are experiencing

  5. Be open to outcome

How do you find ways to STAY in your day?