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Getting More Out of Your Yoga Practice Through Mental Focus
Bette Phelan
 

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  In a holistic sense we cannot separate our mind from our body. Each affects the other. This is especially true during yoga practice.

If your body is in a yoga pose but your mind is thinking about work or what you’re going to do later in the day you’re not getting the full benefit of the practice. The focus of your mind during yoga practice directly affects what is happening in your body and the results you get from each pose.

USING DHARANA (CONCENTRATION) TO ENHANCE BENEFITS

The Yoga Sutras describe Dharana or concentration as one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga along with Pranayama and Asanas. Combining Dharana (mental concentration) with Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breath control) during yoga practice is a powerful technique for deepening and enhancing your yoga experience.

As you learn to focus and direct your mental attention during yoga practice you will find that the practice becomes more involving and enjoyable and it leads to increased benefits, both mental and physical.

During your next sadhana session try concentrating all of your attention on your breathing and on sensations you are feeling in your body.

Staying focused on breath will help to ensure that you don’t go further into a pose than is beneficial. If you find that your breathing is restricted you have generally gone too far into the pose.

Staying attuned to what is happening in your body via sensations will keep you aware of where your “edge” is in the posture - that place where you are fully engaged with the stretch without strain or pain.

Combining breath and body awareness during practice can unleash powerful resources for your body.

DIRECTING “PRANA” (LIFE FORCE) WITH MENTAL FOCUS & DEEP BREATHING

“Prana” or life force travels on the breath and is directed in it’s flow by the focus of the mind. By concentrating on the area in your body where you are feeling the most sensation or restriction you can direct more prana (life force energy) to that area and help your body to release tension and energy blockages in that area.

During your next yoga session employ the powers of your mind to assist your body in getting more out of the pose. Breath, relax and concentrate your way to maximum benefits.