Playing Simon Says — Paying Attention versus Being Attentive

In Unity Woods Yoga Centers quarterly newsletter (Unity Woods website), John Schumacher responds to a question that students frequently ask him: “Why isn’t my practice at home like it is in class?” He provides some really good reflexions on this dilemma.

“Gathering, coalescing, and focusing your attention creates an intensity of physiopsychospiritual energy that quiets the mind and uncovers the underlying capacity for awareness. To be aware is to be awake, and to be awake in this way is to be alive in the fullest sense of the word. This is the goal of yoga. It is what the teacher guides you toward. And for most of you, because you haven’t learned to do that for yourself, your home practice doesn’t feel quite as good as your class. Yet.”

I’ve found that my pranayama and meditative practice comes very easy now. I look forward to each sessions. By sheer repetition, I have become comfortable with these parts of my practice. On the other hand, I have to force myself to do asanas. Part of the resistance is that I have to think so hard to get them right so I really can’t feel the flow. I know that I am not going to make progress until I work on my asanas everyday because that’s when you make breakthroughs.