"Where your attention goes, energy flows"

Sunset meditation at Maho Bay, St. John, USVI One of my teachers, Dandapani or “D”, just visited Jane’s House this last weekend to share knowledge and insights on energy: how to preserve it, use it wisely, and not waste it. I always love when he visits because he is so down to earth, captivating, and real. There is no BS when he speaks. He only shares what he knows to be true from his own experience. And he always leaves me inspired.

There are many profound things that D has brought to my attention, and I will likely share them in other posts. This past weekend was more of a reiteration and reestablishment of what I already know to be true about energy: as D always say, “where the attention of your mind goes, your energy flows.”

I see energy wasted in my life (I am the greatest procrastinator, ever), and I see it wasted in others' lives, especially in the world of yoga teachers. This context brought me back to the time I was completing my teacher training, how much energy I wasted on things outside of the present moment, and how I still see this very thing happening repeatedly around me. Teachers get really excited about yoga during teacher training and within the first few years of teaching, and they often want to do ALL OF THE THINGS yoga related: branch out to other yoga forms, energy work, aromatherapy, massage therapy, and seek specialized trainings to broaden their yoga teaching demographic.

While the other modalities are useful and lovely and their healing nature nicely fits in with teaching yoga, the first years of a yoga teacher’s career benefit greatly from focused attention. During my training, I was guilty of getting on the “runaway yoga train,” as I call it – you get so excited, and you have to know EVERYTHING and attend EVERY workshop and training and obtain EVERY certification for EVERY type of yoga specialty you come across (and there are some pretty wild ones - just check your spam folder if you ever visited a yoga related website. Whoa!). I jumped on the runaway train for sure. Hell, I even applied to Chiropractic AND Massage Therapy schools before I even had my certification for teaching in my hands! I experienced an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and I wanted more more more MORE.  I had focused attention comparable to a dog's, "I am going to teach yoga! And be a Chiropractor! And do massages on a beach in Costa Rica!  Squirrel!"

Maybe it is just a result of the society we are in –  more is better and bigger is better. I will share with you from my experience; the misconception of “more is better” can be detrimental when walking the path of a yoga teacher - especially, if you are a newer teacher. Focus your attention of how to teach an average class filled with beginners, experienced yogis, teens and seniors, various ailments and physical limitations… that will keep your plate full for a long time. Be able to teach any and every student you encounter - or know when to honestly step back and say, "I don't know what to do here, I need to do more work." A ton of knowledge is necessary to facilitate a class for a vast range of abilities and personalities. When my attention and energy were spent on all of the "other things" I wanted to do instead of getting really good at teaching a regular class, the foundation of my teaching became compromised and weak. I felt it, and worse, my students felt it.

Dandapani gave an example once: the sun can be very powerful if you focus its rays into one spot through a magnifying glass; it has the power to burn things, but when the energy of the sun disperses, it cannot have the same power. So, if you focus your attention and energy on one very specific thing, you have a lot more power than when you are scattered and your energy is spread out.

I found that once I focused on one thing – teaching – I started to grow. My students and my own personal practice became a constant dance of energy moving back and forth – I used a lot of energy, but I was also nourished by the very clear growth in myself and my students.

“Where your attention goes, energy flows.” Once you become clear about what you want, focus all of your attention and energy on it. You will discover abundance in so many forms.

Whatever it is you choose to do – do it well. Get excited about it, and do it with all of your passion and dedication. Do it morning, noon, and night. Dream of it. Allow yourself to be wrapped up and consumed by it. Anything you choose to do is worth doing to the best of your ability. Allow your attention and energy to sear a clear cut path on your journey with the same intensity as the sun light magnified.

If you aren’t excited and consumed by it, is it really worth doing at all?