"Stop, look, and listen, before you cross the street. Use your eyes, use your ears, then, use your feet." ~ Children's Road Safety Song
There is a life lesson to be learned from this simple song about safety. We know to use caution when crossing a road, but how often do we use equal caution and observance when crossing paths with others? It is so easy to be absorbed in our own existence that we overlook what is right in front of us!
A casual attitude towards interactions with others is a learned behavior, rewarded with positive outcomes and ingrained over time so that we still execute the action, even when the outcome slants negative. Multitasking can be useful, but not usually when someone is in need of your full attention. Mindful awareness practiced in yoga can help bring about a greater ability to stay fully present in each moment. Try setting an intention to stay focused at the outset of every practice. Use a mantra or phrase that you say aloud before beginning your sequence. An example might be, "Today I will fully attend to every breath and posture in my practice."
Take time at the end of your practice to assess your session. Were you able to stay true to your intentions? What obstacles did you meet along the way? How can you overcome them and find greater focus? When assessing this part of your yoga practice, you may also choose to reflect on how these behaviors play out in your life off the mat. How do you attend to your tasks? Are you able to focus, or does your mind wander? The strategies you use to stay focused in yoga can position you to be more engaged in all other areas of your life.
Meditation is a time-honored way to improve your ability to be still, present and focused. There are even online guides and apps to help you learn this. Studies show that clearing your mind with meditation makes you better able to focus and assess information you receive.
Make time and listen with care. With time and practice, the quality of your life and depth of your relationships are sure to flourish.
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