Sunday, March 4, 2012

8 Limbs of Yoga - Week 6: Dharana

Sometimes it can really feel like we're living in a video game. Lights, sounds, shapes, and colors flying at us head on. How hard it is for us to concentrate when we live a world of over stimulation! This week is 6th limb of yoga, Dharana - concentration. Concentration is like a muscle - it takes some training if you want it to be strong. There are many ways to practice concentration in the yoga classroom:
1 - Drishti - Our Drishti helps us to focus and balance. When working with balance poses, such as Tree or Eagle, it is important to find something in the room that is not moving and stare at it with all our might. This is our Drishti. When we focus on our Drishti, our balance improves and our ability to focus increases.
2 - Memory - What we do on one side of our Sun Salutation, we must do on the other. String a series of 3 - 4 poses and see if the kids can remember what needs to happen on the other. Let them call it out!
3 - Visualization - When we're in a state of relaxation, our minds are clearer and more able to think, dream, and create for mental pictures like we do for visualizations. My favorite guided visualization...The Balloon Ride.
4 - Buddha Board - The Buddha Board is a Zen concept based on living in the moment. After painting a design on the surface with water, the design slowly starts to evaporate. The challenge is to sit, focus, and watch. This can take 5-7 minutes and can be quite the challenge at any age. How often do we just sit? Practice. The longer you sit, the more peaceful you become. And as the Buddha Board slowly clears, so does your mind.

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