Attention Begets Energy
Attention begets energy.
I see this unfold in my asana, on my mat and in my life all the time
. Whatever I choose to focus my attention on expands. It's simple, really.
Take Warrior II. Yes,
lovely Warrior II. There are several ways to experience the pose.
If I choose to focus on the burning sensation in my front leg, I give rise to it. I make it bigger. All of a sudden I find myself overwhelmed. Tense. Not breathing. Before I know it I’m waiting for the pose to be over and set on never coming back to this teacher’s class again - just kidding - but seriously
. Chances are you've been in a Warrior II like this before. It's not fun.
In the exact same pose, I can choose to focus my attention on breath and only breath. And suddenly something magical happens. It gets stronger, longer and deeper. It expands within me and somehow carries me through the pose. The breath in my body becomes more powerful than the sensation in my leg.
Makes sense, right? When I first started practicing Baptiste Yoga, I spent the entire class focusing on what didn't feel good, on what I wanted to change and what was overwhelming about the experience. As I started to observe myself on my mat, I realized that as with all things in yoga, this negative energy I was creating didn't stay in the yoga room. It was playing out everywhere
in my life.
I was always focusing my attention on the negative and never the positive
I like to think I've grown a lot since then but have to admit that I found myself stuck in this old pattern a few days ago. There are so many positive things that I could choose to focus on in my life right now but I couldn't seem to see past one negative interaction with one person. It played over and over in my head after it happened and consumed me for the remainder of the day.
I like to believe I'm not alone in this. It's natural. We gravitate towards the negative. It's like we're wired to dwell on what doesn't work, on who doesn't like us, on the mistakes that we've made and the ways that we've failed. We focus on the one thing that's falling apart, instead of the many things that are coming together.
After a breakup we consume ourselves with sadness about the one person that no longer loves us, instead of reaching out to all of the people in our lives that still do. We make a mistake at work and we play it on repeat in our heads instead of the positive things that we’ve done considering we still have a job. We focus on the one thing we want our significant other to change about themselves instead of what drew us to them in the first place.
In life, we focus on the one thing that’s not working, instead of the many things that are.
I used to believe that there was no changing this - it was just human nature.
My yoga practice has shown me otherwise. It is possible to focus our attention on the positive things in life, on what we have to be grateful for, the people that love us and the things that make us happy.
And that's what yoga is to me right now. It's a daily opportunity to practice who I want to be and how I want to live my life. It's a chance to get lost in the overwhelming sensation, the dripping sweat, the burning muscles and the thoughts in my head and somehow realize that there's another way. It's the possibility of moving through a practice focusing on what's good - breath, softness, ease - and bringing that into my day. It's believing that no matter how much negative energy I create, there is always another way
. In any moment, I can pause and refocus my attention.
My thoughts shape my life - as do yours.
Today I'm choosing something positive.
What about you?