5 Ways To Practice Attention and Presence

If your focus on asteya and attention have you aware that you're often distracted or lost in an online world, here are 5 easy ways to start bringing your attention back to the present moment. 

Pause and breathe:
If you get to the end of each day (or week) and wonder where it went, add some breath breaks into your day. Simply stop what you're doing and focus on taking three slow breaths. This will help you relax both body and mind, and allow you to be present and appreciate what's around you.

Do one thing at a time:
We often believe we're getting everything done by multitasking, however the truth may be that we are really just distracted and bouncing around feeling busy but not achieving much! Pay attention to completing one task at a time.

Turn off notifications:
Shock horror!! You may not know immediately that your third cousin half removed just liked your meme. It's ok! Really! You'll both survive if you don't notice it until later in the day when you intentionally check your accounts. Turn off all but the most urgent notifications, and keep your phone out of sight when doing something or interacting with others. I acknowledge that on occasion we might receive an urgent/important phone call or text, but consider how often you respond to your phone as if it's urgent every single time it lights up, even if it's just an instagram like or a spam email. Every time our phones light up and the notification box appears, it steals our attention from the task at hand, or worse - from the person we're interacting with.

Cuddle a (friendly) dog:
One of the best ways to learn being attentive and present is from the masters of presence! Cuddle or play with your dog. Be in the moment with them and enjoy that special time. They'll love and appreciate it and you'll feel more relaxed and happy too!

Go outside in nature:
Whether your access is to a park, the beach, or the woods, go outside! Listen to the sounds of birds, waves or wind in the trees, or watch the sun set. Take in everything about that moment from the temperature of the air to your presence in that space and the colour of the sky. Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to enjoying the moment.

Journal: What's Stealing Your Attention?

Our journal questions this week are on being present and our attention. Pick one or all of them (there are quite a few this week) to write about freely without self-editing. Grab your pen or laptop and dig in!

Asteya Journal

What distracts you the most in life? How? Do you notice or is it subconscious? Write about some of the ways and times you get distracted.

When you have a moment spare in the day such as riding an elevator, waiting for an appointment, waiting for the bill to come at lunch etc what do you do? Is this a choice or habit? Does it make add to your day in a positive way or simply make time pass? Would you prefer to act in a different way?

Which online activities take up the most of your attention? How do they make you feel? Do any elevate you or do any leave you frustrated, stressed or empty? Which are absolutely necessary and which end up passing time without you even realising?

How do you show someone you're listening to them? Do you always do this? How might the other person feel if you are only half paying attention to them when they're talking to you? With this in mind, what might you do in future interactions to show people that you are present and paying attention.

Asteya: What's Stealing Your Attention?

Last week we began our exploration of the third yama, asteya/non-stealing. We started the practice by thinking about ways that we steal time and energy from ourselves and from others. In my post, I said that our most valuable resource is time. This week I'd like to expand on that; consider for a moment if our most valuable resource is not only our time, but also our attention.

AsteyaHaving a whole library, TV, encyclopedia, weather station, gaming console and access to the thoughts of millions of people in a device smaller than a single book is incredibly convenient, but how often does technology divide or perhaps steal our attention, often without us even noticing?

As a society we are more distracted than ever. While sometimes this distraction may not hurt anyone, at other times it can hurt other's feelings, cause accidents, or make us miss out on the best parts of life.

When we watch TV while eating, we steal the enjoyment of a meal from ourselves, and perhaps the pride of the person who has spent time carefully preparing it.
We steal our attention from the important task of driving any time we respond to our phones while on the road.
We steal the enjoyment of a concert when we focus on capturing the perfect picture or videoing the act rather than simply watching and being present.
We steal our presence from those around us by scrolling on our phones instead of paying attention the person in front of us.

"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention" ~ Thich Nhat Han

This week, on and off the mat we'll be exploring asteya or non-stealing of our attention and presence. I believe this practice connects the very heart of what our yoga practice is for; learning to be present in the moment.

Start today by removing all distractions when you sit down to eat. Practice presence with others by committing to leaving your phone, laptop and other technology completely out of sight while interacting with friends and family. On and off the mat commit to being present and attentive to whatever you're doing or whoever you're with.

Gemstones for Asteya

Not only can we steal time and energy from others, we can also have it stolen from us. If you feel like other people steal your energy - consider wearing onyx.

Onyx BraceletOnyx malaOnyx Leather Wrap

Onyx is a stone of protection which absorbs and transforms negative energy, and helps to prevent the drain of personal energy. Onyx encourages wise decision making and increases self-discipline while calming nervousness, fear and anxiety. It aids in the development of emotional and physical strength and stamina, and encourages self-confidence, happiness and good fortune. Black Onyx is a wonderful stone for grounding and centering during meditation.

Onyx is available in matte and gloss finish and can be combined with other gemstones.

Check out the images for some of the onyx items available in our online shop and studio. If the one you love isn't linked, message us as we will be happy to make it for you. Custom designs available. All jewelry is hand made in Jasper by an experienced yoga and meditation teacher.