As the energy of the holiday season starts to build, our own dear Peggy Profant reflects on the benefits of returning to Presence. This morning I found myself so caught up in to-do lists and worrying about gifts for loved ones, this offering was exactly what I needed to read today and I hope it resonates with all of you too! Cheers! -Kelly
Practicing Presence Through the Holidays
By Peggy Profant
Presence is an everyday practice, but during this time of year it is especially fortifying to be in the moment. Presence is ultimately a gift we give to ourselves, but in our practice it is beneficial to all aspects of life that we encounter. How often do you find your mind wandering when someone is talking to you? It’s natural for our minds can be busy, especially now during the holidays. We may be planning travels, worrying about finances or planning the perfect gift for a loved one. Honestly, the perfect gift is you–you, unwrapped of all your mental chatter, unwrapped of the to do list or the ‘I should have’ list. When we show up for each other and listen with our full presence, it can bring immeasurable relief for a friend in need. Often all it takes to resolve an issue or relieve sadness and grief is to be heard without judgement, to be held in sacred space and honored for our vulnerable humanness.
Holding presence takes practice and we are often given the opportunity during the holidays to work that muscle in the most challenging of moments. Just the other day, I was in a situation where two of my family members were angry with each other. One was triggering the other and the argument was getting quite heated. Through active listening to each other and not reacting to the internal charge, my beloveds were able to find deeper understanding and compassion with each other. Eventually, the anger turned into hugs and cuddles. It’s a matter of slowing down, stepping away from the stories that our mind makes up about the situation and being present to what actually is. Holding space with an open heart is presence. When we allow the emotions to be acknowledged and heard, the charge is released. Greater harmony and connection pursues.
Before we can hold presence for another, we have to practice holding it for ourselves. The physical practice of asana (physical postures), is to take the time to move into the parts of the body that may not have been “heard” in awhile. Perhaps there’s some stored emotion in the hips, a load of responsibility in the shoulders or a lack of connection to the breath. Anyone who has been on the mat even once can see that their yoga practice not only releases physical tensions, but also energetic tensions. Lethargy and stress also come back to a place of balance.
With that, we are able to attune with deeper parts of ourselves: the part of sweet consciousness that lives beneath the busy mind, the place where we are connected to the fundamentals of our existence. It starts here in the body, we peel back the layers of discontent, of non-self, and get down to our true nature. Your being, in its natural state and essence is at peace, open hearted and experiences joy. As we refine our yoga practice, we aim to hold our self with an open loving heart, accept and listen to all parts. Through that, we give to the world the greatest gift of our fully present and radiant self.
Join Peggy for a special fundraiser holiday class and give yourself the gift of presence on Christmas Eve. Unwrap your Presence Dec 24 10am-12pm. You can also Find Peggy in her weekly classes at Om Shala Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am.
About the Author
Peggy Profant, E-RYT 500, and Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, Is on a lifelong path of yoga and taking its insightful teachings into all areas of her life. She first discovered the practice in 1980 and began teaching it to others in 1997. Ashtanga, Iyengar and Anusara are the schools in which have influenced her practice. As one who lives courageously from her heart, she passionately teaches her classes with meaningful yogic themes while keeping a keen attention to alignment. In addition to yoga, being in nature and with her family is where she finds her deepest joy and peace. Peggy is former owner and director of Om Shala Yoga in Arcata and has been leading workshops, retreats and trainings since 2003.