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Yoga And Meditation

Make Your Yoga Practice More Intense Through Focusing on Your Poses

Yoga can fill many different roles in a person's life. It can be a workout routine, a set of stretches, a form of relaxation, or a spiritual practice. Whatever your intent when you practice yoga, learning how to focus properly will help you to get more out of each session. Finding the ability to focus intensely will offer benefits in other parts of your life, too.

 width= There are Different Levels of Focus

Just as there are different levels of difficulty for some of the more popular poses, there are different levels of focus. This concept is perhaps best explained with "drishti", the Sanskrit term for 'area of focus'. When you're learning a new, complex asana, you will probably find yourself using a focal point to help yourself keep your balance. That's the most basic level of focus. Instead of letting your mind wander, and then falling over, you'll focus on one thing and that will help you stay balanced.

As you become more experienced, you'll find those original poses less challenging, and you'll let your mind wander while you do them. Those who are more accomplished yogis will train themselves to stay focused - to still use drishti - even when they no longer need to. Learning this more advanced level of focus means that they'll be able to stay in the moment during more challenging situations in day-to-day life, and this is a valuable skill to have.

The next level of focus is to be able to employ drishti during meditation. To sit still, and focus on one thing, without your eyes wandering. Those who can do that will have tamed their 'monkey mind', and will benefit from much greater clarity of thought.

Mindful Practice Brings Improvements yoga practice

It is widely accepted that yoga offers numerous health benefits, beyond just 'helping you relax and making you more flexible'. To get the most out of the practice, it is important to engage with yoga in a mindful fashion. Miming your way through the stretches will offer some benefit, but those who truly focus on each and every movement, feeling the stretches, being aware of where their bodies are, and being aware of each and every breath will find that they come away from the session feeling recharged. Their mindfulness benefits will spill over into other areas of their lives.

Breathing pranayamas can be useful for people who are struggling to focus, and who want to get more out of their yoga practice. Learn the Kapalbhati Pranayama, and the Bhastrika Pranayama - two breathing techniques that will help to refresh and revitalize your mind, and perk you up when you're feeling tired. When performed correctly, these pranayamas can help you to focus better not just for the yoga session, but for a long time afterward too.

Yoga can help to improve your brain's neuroplasticity, which means that it can help to protect against memory loss, and also help you when it comes to learning other new things. Practicing yoga for 20 to 30 minutes per day is enough to offer those benefits, as long as you are actually mindfully practicing. That means paying attention to everything that you are doing, and being 'at the moment', rather than absentmindedly moving through a sequence of rehearsed poses. Take the time to empty your mind, and really enjoy the flow that you are doing.

yoga practice Clear Your Head with Relaxing Scents

You have probably noticed that when you go to a yoga studio, it is a warm room with quiet, relaxing music playing and with pleasant scents in the background. The aroma could come from incense or from essential oils. Aromatherapy is used in yoga practice because it helps the practitioners to relax. 1

Essential oils have been used throughout history to help people to relax and to soothe worries, and modern practitioners are still firm believers in using essential oils to improve their focus and to get more out of their classes. 2 There is now a large body of research that backs up the idea of using essential oils to improve focus and concentration, however.

Rosemary essential oil , for example, has been found to improve memory 3 and also boost concentration. 4 So, if you're struggling to remember the Sanskrit names for each pose, or finding that as you drop into downward dog your mind wanders to what you're going to pick up from the store after the class ends, it could be that putting a couple of drops of rosemary on your compression top could help you to get more from your session.

Lavender oil is another great essential oil that can help with focus. Lavender oil is often used in aromatherapy to help people who have worrisome symptoms. 6 If you find yourself struggling to focus on your poses because you're ruminating over an argument that you had last week, or because you are worrying about things that are outside of your control, then lavender essential oil could give you the boost you need to clear your head and embrace the mental aspects of yoga, as well as the physical.

You Get Out What You Put In yoga practice

Anyone can do yoga. The beauty of it is that you can make it as simple or as complex as it needs to be depending on your ability and your needs. You can modify the poses depending on how flexible you are and whether you have any pre-existing injuries, and you can focus on breathing and meditation, or you can push your body with movements that require both strength and flexibility. If you make a sincere effort to challenge yourself with yoga, then you will reap the benefits and keep your brain healthy for many years to come.

Photo Credits: lovelyday12/, KitjaKitja/, FotoCuisinette/,,

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