FOCUS seems to be a necessary word in our world. We are taught we should have focus in school. Focus in the workplace. Focus on our talents. Focus on our goals and making sure others focus on our achievements. When we lose this focus we can sometimes tend to lose ourselves along with it. If you find throughout your day your focus or insight is becoming more and more clouded, take a moment to step back to see and feel what you need. What are you trying to focus on? Is it coming from a place of pure intention? Will it lead you to truth? If it is truth, STAY ON YOUR PATH
“Pursuing the task of everyday life, I walk along the ancient path. I am not disheartened in the mindless void.” – C. Zenji (9th Century, CE), China
In times of multiple tasks, goals, commitments, decisions and needs our focus can become clouded. Although all these things may among your journey, it to can get a little foggy now and then. So where do we go when we can’t decide what to wear in the morning? What is the solution when we can’t find the inspiration to write or complete an assignment? Where do we start when our mind is full of air, jumping from one thought to another?
There are many different ways to bring your inner sight back into focus through asana practice as well as meditation and pranayama. (Side note: If its your actual eyesight that seems to be the trouble then I suggest seeing a doctor) I will give an example of each and if there is one in particular that you found helpful I can suggest some other similar options.
1. Balance to focus: All balance postures in asana practice cultivate and enrich concentration. One you can try is Tree Pose (vrksasana) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/496 You emulate the steady balance, strength and focus of a tree, firmly rooted in the earth while growing tall toward the sun. To increase your focus while in tree pose or during other moments throughout, set your gaze on something in front of you. This is your drishti. Let your eyes be soft and your mind liquid. Let your breath flow like water as you find softness to the point of focus. You can remain for just a few breaths or a few minutes. Remember to honor your body in any posture.
2. Candle to concentration: Tratak is the yogic practice of candle gazing. Begin in a comfortable seated position in a quiet place. Sit approximately 3 ft in front of a lit candle. Let your sit bones become heavy and the spine long. Feel the breath become more mindful as you let your drishti float to the flame. Let the gaze be still and with intention until the eyes begin to slightly water. Then close your eyes and visualize the flame in your mind’s eye for two minutes. This will develop your inner focus. When ready gently open the eyes looking to the candle. Let yourself become aware of difference and feel of having outer focus. Concentration leads the mind a little more softly into meditation and from there into a more balanced mind. This is also a more natural way to ease into the practice of meditation and quieting of the mind. *** After this practice, or after a long period of looking at a computer or book, soothe the eyes. Place your hands into prayer position and begin to quickly rub them together until you can feel the warmth, then place the palms over the eyes. Let your lids become heavy and give the eyes the opportunity to rest.
3. Sharpen with ujjayi: The Ujjayi offers mental focus, calming for the nervous system, increase in oxygen, warming for the body and many other benefits to those who practice it. Ujjiya, also known as ocean breath because it can emulate the sound of the tide coming in and going out from shore. To do, breathe in and out through the nose while contracting the back of the throat (glottis) so you can hear the breath flowing. If you feel as though you are forcing the tightening sensation at the back of the throat just relax slightly and enjoy the slowing of the flow as you were breathing through a very thin straw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcPjvp4La8A&feature=related
“One who is undisturbed by the flow of desires finds peace, as the ocean – though filled by incessant rivers.” Bhagavad Gita (400-300 BCE), India
Finding your own rhythm, relaxation and calm in times of stress and lost focus can be challenging but let it be an exploration and enjoy the things you learn about yourself along the way. If you have any questions, concerns or want to explore further don’t hesitate to connect. We are all just making our way through the fog a little more each day but I am okay with not always being able to see in front of me because I still have the rest of me as a guide.