I was teaching a Reiki Level 1 Class this week and the word attention came up a few times in the class. This word has been catching my attention repeatedly in the last few days.

My husband told me about the Hawthorne Effect, when I got home after my third appointment at the Yoga Therapy Clinic in the last two months and was raving about how beneficial these monthly sessions have been. Wikipedia states the Hawthorne Effect (also referred to as the Observer Effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.

At the Yoga Therapy clinic, there are four people working in a team to look after a client. There is one trainee therapist who interacts with me, the client. She is supervised by a fully qualified Yoga therapist. There are two more trainee therapists observing and supporting the trainee therapist looking after me. I did feel self conscious at the beginning of my first visit, with four pairs of eyes focused on me. But the self consciousness disappeared pretty quickly once I felt the love and care in the attention that I was receiving. It seemed like the love was multiplied four times.

I have been quite good with daily practice of the Yoga sequence I am given at the Clinic. This Yoga sequence is personalised to my needs and helps me to feel better each time I practise. With attending a Yoga class regularly every week, a couple of Yoga workshops that I have done in the last couple of months and my daily Reiki self practice, something seems to be working. I have gone to the Yoga Therapy Clinic with a major issue each time, something that I have been struggling with for a while eg breathing difficulty. Amazingly the symptoms have disappeared by the time I have gone for the next appointment after one month.

To me it is not important to know what is working, or how Yoga is helping me, or whether Reiki is helping me to go deeper with the Yoga practice. I am simply grateful to be able to breathe and not have to worry about not being able to breathe. I am grateful to be able to go for walks and climb the stairs without struggling to breathe.

I am very grateful for allopathic medicine and use it when I have to. However my preference is for natural ways to help myself. I prefer to have relief from symptoms without having to take medication on a regular basis. When I was struggling to breathe, inhaler would provide relief from the symptoms but temporarily. Yoga and Reiki seem to provide much deeper relief, and there are no side effects. I know that nothing stays the same forever and asthma can come back. But I am not worrying about it.

I am very grateful for relief from the menopausal symptoms I was suffering from when I went for the second appointment.

Reflecting on the word ‘attention’, I find that it is very connected with being present. I know that when I give attention to my breath, it helps in many different ways. Every time I give attention to what I am doing, whether it is eating, walking, cleaning, I am more present in the moment, and in my body. Every time I give myself a Reiki treatment or practise Yoga, I am giving attention to all levels of my being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Self massage is another way of giving attention to the body. Meditation is a way of giving attention to the inner self.

It feels amazing to realise that the simple act of observing/giving attention can help bring about improvement. I know that I have been giving attention to all sorts of things in my life. Some of it has been conscious and a lot has been subconscious. It feels good to realise that I am becoming more aware of what I am giving attention to and the difference it can make. Hopefully this awareness will bring better balance and presence.

I am feeling very grateful to my husband for helping spark off all these insights with his comment about the Hawthorne Effect. I cannot help wishing that he would go to the Yoga Therapy clinic and try the Hawthorne effect for himself, especially as no previous Yoga experience is required!