Last week, I was in Wisconsin at a workshop made up of educators. One of the things that came up was having laptop policies in the classroom. An argument for telling students (particularly college students) that they cannot have laptops/devices going during class is because they cause distractions – particularly for others. The line of thinking goes that as a student, I might be distracted from my learning because the person next to me has something cool opened up on their device and that is what I am paying attention to.
Now, there are a whole host of things we could discuss related to devices in the classroom, but this isn’t the place for it. What stood out to me was someone said, “Take ownership of your distractions.” I immediately thought about yoga.
Recently, I wrote about taking a silent Bikram class but how I was in opposition to having music played during that class. I don’t know that I communicated this well, but music is a way to distract me from my distractions – and I wanted to engage with my distractions. I wanted to work on finding them and working through them and having them not be distractions anymore (or lessen it). In that space, music was a distraction but in a weird way. It allowed me to hide from the other distractions so I didn’t want it.
On a daily basis, we might experience any number of distractions in our practice such as:
- someone entering/leaving the room
- someone drinking water during a posture
- our own mind telling us all kinds of junk
- the need to scratch an itch!
I could make this list go on forever. I don’t know what to do beyond acknowledging and owning a distraction. I think that’s the first step. For me, I have a huge problem during the entire warm-up series. I don’t know why, but I think I come up with ways to create distractions for myself. I always feel insanely itchy and justify the need to scratch something somewhere on me! I’ve recognized this months ago, but I don’t seem to have moved on past it.
But here’s what I do know, if I am distracted it is not someone else’s fault. What distracts me may not distract you. It is important to recognize what distracts us and to own it as in I find X to be distracting. Simply acknowledging the distraction might be all we can do for now, but I am confident that one day we will push pass the distraction and it will no longer serve as such (and probably five new ones will pop up).
This is a larger part of what our practice is for, right? It’s about learning how to be present with ourselves and to not be pulled out of the moment by distractions.
So do it. Own your distractions.