After a great yoga practice, you’ve probably experienced how your mind feels more clear, calm, and balanced. Many practitioners find the mental benefits of yoga to be the most important, even more than a strong, supple body.
Who doesn’t want to be focused, motivated, and able to experience life to the fullest? This week’s classes will release stress and boost your ability to focus and motivate yourself.
Interested in why and how yoga does this? Step back about 5,000 years and tap into the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras. Yoga Sutra 1.2 Citta Vritti Nirodhah is often translated as: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. This skill is difficult, takes constant practice over time, but can be achieved!
Patanjali outlines a practical how-to manual to reach a state of yoga: the eight-limbed yoga path. The eight limbs are:
1. Yamas—the five moral restraints
2. Niyamas—the five moral observances
3. Asana—physical asanas or postures
4. Pranayama—mindful breathing
5. Pratyahara—withdrawal of the senses
Concentration or Dharana is the sixth limb and is the action of focusing or directing your attention exclusively on something. In order to reach Dharana, which is considered the first level of meditation, it is vital to be able to withdraw the senses of touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste and turn the senses inward. By practicing asana and pranayama first, you prepare your mind to be able to sink into a deeper state of yoga.
When we practice with a focus on our breath and our movement, it quiets the busy-ness in our brains. Freeing ourselves from external distractions opens up the ability to truly focus on what we desire.
This week’s classes will start you off toward an active, focused mind. There is power in movement and mindful breathing which goes much deeper than strengthening muscles and developing flexibility. So press play and hone your ability to concentrate and stay clear on your path.
1. Erin Wimert: Raising the Barre
2. Claire Petretti Marti: Yummy Yoga Flow 5
3. Josey Prior: Heron: Patience and Determination
4. Jackie Casal Mahrou: Yoga for Focus & Concentration
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