During a yoga class, teachers will often tell their students to stay in the moment. While moving through yoga poses, students should try to listen to the teacher’s instructions, move through the pose, and breathe. This practice of moving, listening, and breathing is one of the few ways that yoga students actually get to experience living in the moment, because they are too preoccupied with “doing” that they cannot become distracted by thinking.
Thought is the trap that pulls us out of the “moment” and drags us back into the past and pulls us into the future. When we stop putting our attentions on thoughts about the past and worries about the future (which are really just thoughts from the past), we can then become fully engaged in what we are doing. Those magical moments of being in the “now” do not just have to come in yoga class or in a moment of meditation. They can come all of the time if we can adjust how we think.
When we think about things that happened in the past, we often develop depression. When we worry too much about the future, we develop anxiety. These are both potentially debilitating problems that are often managed by medication. Instead of getting caught in the trap of thought and brain-altering medication, we need to stop thinking about the past and future. Even the good thoughts about the past can create painful feelings because the present might not be able to live up to those good moments.
Instead of worrying, reminiscing, contemplating, struggling with thoughts, it is beneficial to just see the thoughts and not judge them or try to control them. Once we try to do something with those thoughts, we are no longer in the present moment – we are caught up in the chemical and electrical impulses that are preventing us from being in the now. You do not need to forget about the past, just do not let it affect your mental future.