Pay Attention

Happy October! It’s good to be back in LA and seeing so many of you around the studio. A practice that I have been really been embracing, albeit with struggles, is that of paying attention. This quote is on my refrigerator in Nashville so I see it often: “What tools do we need to use? Only one. We’ve all heard of it, yet we use it so very seldom. It’s called attention.” -Charlotte Joko Beck

Paying attention is really where the yoga begins and ultimately is what yoga is all about. We practice paying attention to the way our body feels, the way our breath flows, the way our thoughts run around. We pay attention to how we feel. We pay attention to an object of meditation. We pay attention to what we do and how we do it. And hopefully, we pay attention to how our actions affect others. If we want to absorb ourselves fully in the world around us, which is the goal of a yoga practice, we must start by paying attention to it.

The most important part of a yoga practice is not during that hour or so on the yoga mat. The real test of whether our practice is actually working is when we walk off the mat and out into the everyday world. I got an email from a Yoga Blend neighbor this week that has me thinking about this even more. For years, we have received and continue to receive complaints from our neighbors about parking. I have posted in our newsletters, on our website and around the studio about being mindful when parking. And still, the disharmony continues. I hear stories of students blocking neighbor’s driveways and then being unapologetic about it when confronted. Other stories are about students who move full trash cans from the curb up onto the sidewalk, which means their trash does not get picked up that day. The neighbors, so frustrated with us, want to get permit parking, so no one will be allowed to park in the neighborhood without a permit. Our students are considered to be disrespectful. How can this be?

When I hear these stories and get these emails, I feel disheartened. Yoga Blend is negatively affecting our community and it breaks my heart. My dream in opening this studio was to make a positive impact in the lives of as many people as possible, which includes our surrounding community. Yet, we are considered a burden, particularly to the residents on Lamer and Parish.

I do realize that many of you do pay attention and are aware of your surroundings and the impact your actions have on others and for that I am so very grateful…thank you. For those of you that are in a hurry or perhaps don’t think about how your actions affect other people, I must implore you to please pay attention when you park around the studio. Look at the edge of your car and make sure you are not blocking a driveway. Please do not move a trashcan onto the curb. Make it a practice to get to the studio early so you can park a block away and walk. Or carpool. Or ride a bike. But above all, pay attention. What you do makes a difference, whether positive or negative. Every action. Every thought. Every response.

We are trying to make our world a better place and it starts in our own homes, in our communities and with our neighbors. Please, if Yoga Blend means as much to you as it does to me, practice paying attention with tenacity. For those of you who are paying attention, please do me a favor and kindly remind others when you see they are not. Together, we can continue to be a positive force in our community, but it takes all of us, not just a few.

I love that Yoga Blend is more than just a yoga studio. It is a community of heart centered people doing their best to make a difference in this world, and it starts with the simplest of things like paying attention. Practice it with your whole heart in everything you do and see what happens.

We are always offering different ways for you to deepen your practice. Something I am very excited about is our new format for our upcoming 200 Hour Teacher Training. In 2016, it will start with a 50 hour immersion for those of you who simply want to deepen you practice. In addition, we have so many other wonderful workshops coming up, so please check it all out here.

With infinite love and gratitude…