I had to smile when a friend thanked me for my attention to detail recently. I’d simply mentioned he could track a package he was waiting for with the FedEx tracking number so he’d know when to expect it. Though it seemed obvious to me, my friend hadn’t thought of it. His comment got me thinking about my yoga practice and how it helps me pay attention to detail when I need to (and not worry about it when it’s not important).
Attention to Detail and Yoga
I’m not sure why people describe me as detail oriented. I consider myself more of a dreamer, more interested in the big picture than details and more drawn to possibilities and ideas than to facts and procedures.
Yet I often have to pay attention to detail. And I will admit, it feels great to get details in order. Maybe my ability to notice things is a skill I was born with, but I’m sure my yoga practice has something to do with it too.
A short while after my friend commented on my eye for detail, I wanted to avoid some complex technical editing I needed to do. It was a beautiful day. And I had an idea for a blog post about yoga and attention to detail! I’d rather be outside writing something creative than inside editing something technical.
Since I’ve been a technical editor for years, I suppose it’s true I have natural eye for detail. But paying attention takes practice. In fact, it is a practice.
How Yoga Helps me With Technical Editing
Yoga teaches us many things, and one of those things is how be present and notice what is going on around us and within us. In yoga, we learn to pay attention—to our bodies, to our thoughts, to the universe, and yes, even to the details of technical documents we may need to edit.
Often when I do my editing work, ideas for blog posts fill my head and try to distract me. I usually want to stop editing and write the post first, saving the boring work for later.
But I need to do the work, so I use my yoga to not only do my work, but to watch myself using yoga to do it. This kind of yoga often saves the day when I have to examine an especially dry—and therefore challenging—set of documents.
One-Pointed Attention (to Detail) in Yoga
How do I use my yoga to stay focused? By using my work as a meditation! The meditation practice called one-pointed attention, where we continually come back to a sacred object or mantra, helps me do this.
Sure the mind will wander, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but the goal of meditation is to bring the mind back to a focal point.
When I’m editing, the focal point is the document on my screen. My mind keeps thinking of ideas to write about or reminding me I want to get away from my desk and go to a yoga class. It says things like, “The garage is too cluttered; you need to get out there and organize it.”
When these distractions happen, I can use one-pointed attention to get back to the task at hand—over and over again—until the task is done.
And then I moved on to the next task. Amazingly, by the end of the afternoon (for example), I’ve finished my editing, enjoyed a short yoga practice, tidied up a section of my garage, and written a new blog post.
Maybe in the future I’ll explore the yoga of house cleaning (I still haven’t done the windows), but for now, my point is this: Yoga offers tools we can apply to anything life presents us with, whether by choice or by necessity.
Sometimes my yoga is technical editing and sometimes it’s standing on my head!
What about you? How do you use your yoga practice to pay attention to detail?
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Hi, I’m Maria. I created Yoga Circles for you if you want to delve more deeply into the philosophy, practice, and life-changing effects of yoga. I’m also a writer and editor who helps small business owners, wellness professionals, teachers, and authors publish books, develop marketing strategies, and connect with readers, clients, and students. Visit my website (link below) for more about that. I’d love to hear from you!