Book Review: The Art of Attention
A Teacher’s Perspective
I began writing this article before reading the book because the media images are so beautiful. But, it is the intention behind Art of Attention that caught my … attention. And from there I looked to create a workbook for teachers and students that is as artful as it is inspiring.
Art and inspiration are two reasons why I practice, teach and love Yoga. The job of a yoga teacher involves of level of curative editing. The creative process of designing a class that is beautiful, effective, inspirational, intelligently aligned, safe and moving, while maintaining a connection to breath, the students’ process. A teacher must also coordinate those elements with music, be adaptive enough to accommodate an absolute beginner or a knee surgery, and finally, have the presence of mind to not stumble over words, say too much and maybe even make a joke that actually illicits laughter.
It’s not so easy. So, when a book comes along to assist in creating artistic sequences in an organized and beautiful way, I couldn’t wait to read it.[amazon-master]
The Art of Attention is a testament to the power of collaboration – which I love. Art of Attention is co-authored by Elena Brower, a well know yoga teacher, mama, co-owner of Vira Yoga in NYC, an inspirational speaker for the Handel Group, and Erica Jago, a young yoga teacher and designer with an artist’s heart. They met at Wanderlust, forged a friendship after a class at Vira Yoga and an email conversation and sealed their partnership at Burning Man. Their story alone is inspirational , candid and a dream come true for both the younger Erica and elegant and experienced ElenaThe Art of Attention is the type of book you can return to again and again, just opening a page and finding inspiration. Much like Rolf Gates’ classic Meditations from the Mat, but with a different and more feminine and intuitive perspective. More muse-like and with artful imagArt of Attention is as practical as it is beautiful. Five sequences, laid out pictorially and layered with evocative themes: Release Tension and Find Forgiveness, Let Go of Blame, Explore Your Highest Potential, Breathe and Find Stillness, and Let Your Practice Reflect Your Life. These sequences masterfully weave thematic elements into the asana practice – a pathway towards the true depth of the yoga practice.
This book comes at a time where I am only beginning to find my own depth and voice as a yoga teacher. For the last 7+ years, I have been diligently uncovering what it is that I have to say and how I wish to express myself in my classes. That creative process– the art of yoga is so important. It is the life blood of yoga classes that have juice, depth, that encourage risk taking, following our intuition, knowing one’s self, and finding faith.
Really anyone can teach a yoga class – take you through postures, remind your to breath and relax, but it takes more chutzpah to truly teach from the deep and ancient well of one’s heart. Art of Attention encourages just this by clearly showing the multiple layers explored within a class – the physical practice, the emotional and energetic connection, the settling down of the mind, the release of habitual patterns, and the
opening to greater and greater awareness and expanded consciousness.
Through reading Art of Attention, I have found a handbook that invites me to return to the depth of who I am, and offer that when I teach. It provides a simple and powerful structure to contain my wild ideas and mind and to harness that life force that I hold into powerful and meaningful yoga experiences. It encourages creativity, and honest and deep contemplation. It reminds me to cultivate the art of attention in every area of my life. I am deeply grateful for this book.
The more inner work is deepened, the wider external work should become, and the more external work widens, the deeper internal work should become. – Rodney Collin