Staying focused and mindful during yoga can greatly improve your practice.
Being in the now allows you to stay balanced, go deeper, and support you to fully integrate your practice.
When you are present each moment of your life, you live life fully and experience the richness of it. That is not always very easy because we all live busy lives.
How often do you have thoughts taking you away from your practice only to think about your job or what to cook for dinner? When you then get to your job, the mind jumps back to yoga, a past event or to something that may or may not happen in the future. This way we miss out on the little moments of inner harmony, peace and relaxation.
So, how can we change that and be more present?
Here are seven ways I suggest to enhance your focus during yoga. Start by practicing on your mat and then notice how you can eventually take this practice to your every day life off the mat.
1. Set an Intention
When you set an intention at the beginning of class, choose a word, affirmation, mantra, dedication or prayer that inspires you. Throughout your practice, remember your intention, silently repeat it to yourself. This will take you back to the present moment.
2. Ground Down
Ground down through whichever part of you touches the floor. For example, imagine yourself growing roots through the sole of your foot, as you lift up into tree pose. At the same time lengthen the top of the head up to the sky. Find your inner center.
3. Don’t worry
Let go of competing and judging yourself or others. Instead of looking around to see how your fellow yogis are executing a posture, take your awareness back to yourself. Listen to your body as you gently guide it into the pose. Everybody is different and it is important to find your modification of the asana. Stay true to yourself.
4. Keep Breathing
You may have heard your yoga instructor talking about the importance of your in during yoga. Indeed, the breath acts as an amazing indicator, anchor and mindfulness tool in your practice.
So next time you notice that you mind is active or the pose gets more challenging, come back to your breath. Lengthen your in- and exhales and silently repeat on you in-breath “I am breathing in” and on your out-breath “I am breathing out”.
5. Go Within
Whenever the poses allow, go ahead and close your eyes. Feel the sensation you are creating in your body, notice the quality of your mind and the soothing rhythm of your breath. With your eyes closed, center in on where you may be holding and where you can soften a little more.
Find a spot on your yoga mat or in front of you that is not moving and maybe even inspiring. It may be a Buddha statue, your mala next to the mat, an Om symbol or just the floor. Begin to soften your gaze on that spot and keep it there as you hold in your yoga posture. Finding your drishti is especially beneficial in all standing and balancing poses.