Practicing alone is a practice in itself— we learn who we are, how we do what we do, when we are not being watched.
What is the attention of being seen? It can be a performance high, it can be a call to action, it can be as simple as accountability, but the attention of being seen is fundamentally energy: the flow of energy from the watcher to the watched, the teacher to the student.
When the intention is positive, uplifting, and goal oriented, then both ends of the attention stream feel their best. The energy flows with intention and direction. The negative and the points of weakness, of not-knowledge, of not-clarity are sublimated into the strength of knowing, clearly. This is the work of alchemy. It is what makes our shared yoga experiences transformative.
And yet, we cannot rely on the shared work, because it is empowered by the depth of work that can only be reached in solitude. There, we learn to generate our own attention, creating the energy flow within. Otherwise, we become sleepy to ourselves, rote in action, practiced but unawakened.
How do we become self aware on the mat? Conscious without falling into self-conscious?
We look at ourselves from within, the observer perspective that only we can have. We treat solitude as an honor, we respect the space we create to turn inwards, step inside, visit the source of ourselves.
This state requires that we soften the volume of the thoughts, turn our audition away from the inner dialogue and towards the movement of the breath, the sounds of the world. We learn different ways to watch and listen, realizing that the steady stream of thinking is the veil that prevents us from truly engaging with ourselves in practice.
Learning how to fluidly step into the inner space allows us to see the filling of the form: we learn interoception, the sensitivity to where space is inside of us, which is difficult to find when we are in the attention of others. But when we fall too far within ourselves, we become distracted, dreamy, unaware of proprioception/form, and need to be uplifted by the energy of another’s attention.