A few mornings ago in practice, I noticed something that made me laugh.
I was in headstand, finishing up practice, and startled myself into laughter with the realization that I had been completely lost in a daydream. It was funny to me how far I had come only to arrive back in the same place.
Early on, when a pose is new, it usually requires my full attention. In the case of headstand, it was downright scary! I was very bendy and found it difficult to glue everything together in a way that would keep me stable. Each practice at about shoulderstand, I would remember that headstand was next. The butterflies would start. I'd steel my nerves and set it up. Toppling over felt like a very real possibility, although I rarely actually went over.
Fast forward a few years....
I had a moment a few years ago where I realized that headstand had become "just a pose". There were no more pre-pose-butterflies. In fact, I didn't really think about it at all....just moved into the pose on the count and then back out again when it was time.
That headstand has now evolved into a place where I can become completely lost in a day dream, shows me how far I have come physically...and reminds me why practice is not about the poses. Maintaining awareness and attention has to be a choice. Therein lies the practice....because apparently with enough time and practice, I can be unaware just about anywhere.