You only have to go to one or two yoga asana classes to recognize the important philosophy of being present. We often place words like “just” in front of “be” or “let go” as a way of minimizing the effort involved in this concept, but you also only really have to go to one or two yoga classes to know that “just being” demands more practice than the words imply. Maintaining presence can slip away so easily; the moment that we begin to anticipate something as simple as the next yoga pose, we jump into the future.
The Sanskrit phrase Ishvara Pranidhana roughly translates to surrender to the divine (or the present). If we could all just do this, there would be no need for any other yoga practice. However, even the habit of jumping ahead to what we “know” comes next in a yoga sequence belies the teachings of this phrase. When an instructor leads a yoga asana class, surrender to that which is being offered and you get closer to the actual practice of Ishvara Pranidhana. You do not need to search your memory for the asanas you completed on one side of your body—that is the instructor’s job. Your job on that mat is to surrender to what is being offered in the present moment.
Full presence in an instructor lead asana practice means listening and responding to the cues for movement (or stillness). Without ego, there is no need to go deeper unless instructed to do so, there is no need to jump ahead, and there is no need to go back. “Just” enjoy the ride.