Everyone’s been in one of those yoga classes where things happen that destroy your focus. Someone’s cell phone rings, a digital watch beeps, late arrivals or early departures, a crash landing from a headstand or arm balance, noise from the street interrupts your moment of zen. There are a thousand and one things that can take us our of focus in our yoga practice, mostly our own minds.
Today I experienced true focus. At the generosity of the Harvard Varisty Fencing team, my Wednesday night yoga class is held in their space in the fencing studio. Today, upon entering the room, it was half full of boots, bags, backpacks and fencing accoutrement, leaving little space to roll out a mat. Luckily a gym staff member came by and noticed our predicament. She went and talked to the coach who promised his students would be quiet upon re-entering the room to get their stuff. “Oh boy,” I thought. “This is going to be great.” But I tried to smile and roll with the punches. After all, this is a true test of yoga right here, in the moment. Can I, as the instructor, stay calm and lead a class where the students feel empowered enough to maintain focus in the face of major distractions? Can my students stay with their breath and flow even while people are packing up and moving around them?
Wouldn’t you know it … THEY DID! My students are SO FREAKING AWESOME. They never even batted an eyelid when 20 extra people suddenly entered the space. The breath barely wavered. I have never felt such intention and focus in class before. Sometimes adverse situations really do bring out the best we have to offer.
Today, my students brought their very best to their mats in so many ways.
I am awed and humbled by their dedication and focus.