Saturday, April 16, 2005

Yoga is Paying Attention

I have a little hobby. When I see a definition of yoga in a book or magazine that I like, I copy it down. Later I'll key it into a file on my computer.

Here's one I like:
"Yoga is more than just an excellent physical exercise. It is an ancient and powerful spiritual tradition aimed at transforming an inaccurate perception of reality into a clear perception of that which is real. It is able to elicit in you a global loving-kindness which will help you become a better participant in life." --Erich Schiffmann
Enjoy it. It's beautiful.

But today I want to try this one out on you: "Yoga is paying attention."

I said this to my students in class this morning.

Attention can turn any daily activity into yoga.

Inattention can turn a "yoga pose" into a stretch or a stunt, an athletic performance, or just a habit done by rote.

To do yoga, you've got to pay attention.

That's my yoga tip for today. While you're doing whatever you're doing pay attention.

I hope you get a chuckle out of this. It happens all the time. Busy working people come into the yoga center, take off their shoes, change out of their professional clothes and settle down in the classroom. Soon we're up going through Sun Salutes. Then it happens.

Someone in the room steps one foot forward from downward facing dog pose into lunge. And in that moment he or she looks down and sees a tiny bit of sock lint stuck in that little crack alongside the big toe nail. The world stops. Yoga stops. The flow stops. Everyone else goes on, but that little piece of lint interrupts the focus of the pose sequence that was just a moment ago the only thing that mattered.

Instantly a lunge turns into something other than yoga.

My very first yoga teacher Betsey Downing used to tell me she could even be happy while changing the kitty litter, if only she paid attention.

When you pay attention, you begin to see things as they really are. And you have more choices. Things slow down. You can even see your reactions. You can choose different responses to the experiences you're having.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry
www.ExperienceYoga.org

p.s., My Saturday morning students at alleyCat yoga in Columbia, MO (10:00 to 11:30 am) not only heard about the benefits of paying attention, they practiced them. Check out the classes at alleyCat Yoga.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved by Mo Yoga LLC.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mark Wilson said...

Hi,
I also love to do yoga and I appreciate your job too .Yoga help people fit and healthy by doing yoga people will not suffer from any disease.
thanks ....
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Blogger Jackson said...

Great post! Keep it up the good work and also keep posting.
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