I had to smile when a friend thanked me for my attention to detail recently. I’d mentioned he could track a package he was waiting for with the FedEx tracking number so he’d know when to expect it. It seemed obvious to me, but he hadn’t considered this even though he had an email with a tracking number. My friend’s comment got me thinking about my yoga practice and how it helps me pay attention to detail.
Attention to Detail and Yoga
I’m not sure why people describe me as detail oriented since details kind of bore me most of the time. 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, I get a rush from getting details in order. Thankfully, I have yoga to help me!
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. 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 an eye for detail. But make no mistake, paying attention takes practice. In fact, it is a practice.
How Yoga Helps me With Technical Editing
Yoga is many things, and one of those things is attention. 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 not only to 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: Yoga and Attention to Detail
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, “You’re having company next week; you better clean this house.”
When these distractions happen, I can use the concept of 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, cleaned part of my house, 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 calls us to, whether by choice or by necessity.
Sometimes my yoga is technical editing and sometimes it’s standing on my head!
What about you? Is attention to detail part of your yoga practice?
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I’m Maria, devoted yogini and author of Yoga Circles. I’m a writer, editor, and content marketing creator. I help small businesses, wellness brands, teachers, and authors publish books, develop marketing strategies, and communicate effectively in writing. Visit my website (link below) to learn how I can help you connect with more readers, clients, and students!