My cousin Germán is a great yoga practitioner and he asked me about how to improve concentration during the conscious relaxation and the yogic breathing exercises that we practice in class. I loved the request because focus, in general, is one of the big issues in our society. According to a study performed in the US, the average attention span of a human nowadays is shorter that a fish´s… Cousin, your answer is below!
The first thing that I consider important to address, is that the natural state of the mind is “disorder” and by that I mean that we are designed to be alert to the various stimuli, sensations and thoughts that come to us from all around and all of them compete to gain our undivided attention. The second important factor is to remind ourselves that the improvement of concentration has been one of the main intentions of the yogic practice for thousands of years. And third, that nowadays we are having concentration problems due to environmental and socio-cultural factors (stress, fatigue, smart phones, etc) that make our attention jump constantly from one place to another.
Bring to your life the following ayurtips and you will watch how they have a positive impact in the improvement of your attention:
1. Technological fasting:
daily: choose to have your phone on airplane mode for a few hours every day.
weekly: once a week, disconnect from technology.
monthly: one weekend per month, put aside all electronic devices an disconnect completely from social media.
2. In your asana practice always include:
balancing postures like tree pose or eagle.
inversions like handstand (or variations), forearm stand or inverted lake.
3. Three times a day, stop everything during 5 to 10 minutes and breathe consciously. These are small pranayama exercises that will help you to work towards the longer practices.
4. Get rid of multitasking. Doing several things at the same time increases the dissociation of concentration, increases the production of stress hormones and goes against nature because we were created to do one thing at a time.
5. Spend time in nature.