Which did you pay most attention to? The colors of the lights? The sense of movement from the dancing? The emotions that arose for you as you watched? The sound of the music? The time signature of the music? We all have different sense orientations.
We can let these ways of being interested in our surroundings pull us out of our yoga practice, or choose to use them as allies on the mat.
If you have seen my earlier blog posts about the senses, and the five other senses, you know that I am really interested in how the senses participate with our process to become more focused, or aware, during our experience of yoga. I have written about receptive and expressive skills with the senses and about finding your natural orientation.
When you gather information from your environment, do you look first and feel later, or feel first and then maybe notice a couple of visuals. Perhaps your memories are mostly about how things looked, or sounded. Perhaps you aren’t really sure. Check out the earlier blog posts if you want to play around with this to get a better idea of your own sensory orientation by looking at your learning styles:
Once you tend to know if you tend to pay more attention to the visuals, sounds, tastes, or feelings of a situation, you can begin to orient your focus during yoga and meditation that way.
If you are visual, maybe you would find that visualizing the insides of the body as they move and twist can bring your mind into focus. Perhaps retaining a visual of what the body is doing internally will enable you to have a deeper experience of what the body is, in fact, doing.
If you are auditory, you may find that using mantra (a group of words, that bring you joy, repeated over and over in the mind) could be really helpful in bringing the mind into focus. Or, you could find that distracting. You would need to work with mantra a little while to notice if it creates a sort of calm in the mind that lets you be with your experience or if it takes you away from your experience and into the mind. Play around a little to see if watching the sounds of the breath would be more helpful than mantra, or not.
If you are sensory, really keeping your attention on the physical feelings in the body as you move will be important for your focus. You may also find mantra to be helpful in allowing the mind to rest while you focus on the sense of movement and the variations in tightness, ease, pressure, and other physical feelings in the body while you practice.
Perhaps you are emotionally oriented, it may be helpful to stay with alertness to the emotions that accompany your practice. Noticing where you feel the emotions can be helpful, or it may actually be a distraction. You can play with this a little and see which it is for you. It may be that you will need some time practicing alone in order to find and procure your own mood during practice, without picking up on the feelings to get from others. Being really aware of this can be so helpful in finding your way into your own practice, rather than watching the rest of the group you practice with.
I am sure there are other orientations. I, personally, am not mathematically inclined, so I would have a hard time imagining how to use this to bring yourself into the experience of the body, rather that out, or away from it. If you have ideas about this, please let me know. And if you have other orientations during practice, please do share. We all grow richer from understanding each other’s experiences.
Yoga Pose of the Day: Gate Pose – Parighasana (Note: we perform this pose differently in class. You can choose to do forms you are familiar with)
Yogic Concept of the Day: How do I allow my own natural attention/orientation to support my focus as I practice?