Friday, May 11, 2012

Concentration, please (on the text!)

When practicing yoga we exercise the body and the mind. The mind has the task to concentrate on the breath, i.e.. It can also be anything else. One learns to expand the time of concentration.

In classes it's easier to work focused. Easier, not easy. When I see yoginis walking around, talking to others, cleaning the feet, adjusting the hair more often than necessary or the clothes, I know concentration is gone, momentum is lost. The flow is interrupted.

At home it's even more challenging to focus. I worked on my concentration. It's absolutely doable for me now to practice till after the standing sequence. Then I often feel as if I need a rest. It's not that the body is exhausted, it's the mind that is distracted. Thoughts come up. Ideas come up, what I could do. It's as if I need a break, but I know I don't need it, I'd be able to go on.

Also concentration can be learned in moderate steps. I built up the time of concentration. First I set the goal to practice the sun salutations without interruption. Then I added the standing sequence, first with the help of Sharath's CD. It's possible to add one asana after the other before taking a mental break.

Concentration has 2 aspects:
- What's my object of concentration
- How long can I concentrate.

The outer and inner circumstances influence this ability. For me it's easier to concentrate in a crowded room than at home. My inner life, my soul life is rather balanced for the time being. There are not so many disturbances from here. Of course life events might add a challenge to the practice. But this is the reason why we exercise. Exercising yoga teaches us in general how to focus on things we like to focus and not to be distracted by everything.

I had a focused practice yesterday at home. It was primary with some extras, like forward split. At the end my body and my mind became tired.

The advantages when being able to focus:
- Things get done.
- One has more time.
- It can make life easier as one is able to focus on the bright side of life.
- Being able to concentrate speeds up learning.
- Not taking breaks during a yoga practice keeps my body warm and this allows me to go deeper into the asanas.

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