Focus Through Distractions

Sat, July 14

Today’s class was a reminder to me about focusing through distractions. I was reminded of this almost right from the get-go on my mat. My mat has this tendency to slip forward these days ever since I washed it so I tend to slide way forward to another person’s spot by the end of class. Not only that, but I also notice that it tends to slip and move underneath my feet causing me to have to catch my balance more than normal. It is a bit distracting and I need to figure it out and learn how to wash it more effectively so it doesn’t slip (or buy a new mat!). But it got me thinking. What do we do when our world shifts beneath us? What do we do when things get turned upside down and throw us off balance in life. Can we still maintain our focus on the task at hand or do we get frustrated and give up? As I started thinking about this other distractions started happening in the class, almost on cue. First, Mia, Amy’s big black dog opened the door of the yoga studio and peaked in. I saw her as I was in downward facing dog (oh, yes, the irony) and I heard people giggling and Amy say, “oh, look, we have some interest” as she shooed her out and closed the door again. It was a crack up and I was reminded why I love the Yoga Lounge so much – I mean, if you can bring your dog to your place of work, I’m automatically a fan. But again, another, although funny, brief distraction. Next, towards the beginning of the class there was a woman who stopped in the middle of her practice to jot some notes down in her notebook or journal right next to her mat. Very strange and I caught myself watching her in my down-dog and wondering if she was a reporter, an author or what? Another odd distraction. Lastly, towards the end of the class someone’s cell phone went off, on vibrate, and buzzed for a few rings until the woman was able to shut if off. I immediately caught myself judging her and thinking she was an idiot for not leaving her cell phone in the outer area. I was distracted my these thoughts and so I missed part of the story Amy was sharing. I mean, maybe she was waiting for an important phone call about someone who needed her? I really don’t think this was the case at all, by the way, however, but the point is that I didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt at all and immediately judged her. Having all these distractions in one class is very unusual so I knew there was a lesson in there somewhere for me. We are going to be distracted by things out of our control that is for sure. But how do we keep moving forward, maintaining our balance, and withholding judgments in order to be our true authentic selves and open ourselves up to treat others with dignity and kindness? We have a choice to make when we are faced with distractions – give up, fall and stay defeated or get back up, breathe and try again. As always I am grateful to my yoga teachers, my fellow yogis and for the opportunity to continue learning about life through this wonderful practice. Namaste.

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