Declutter the Mind: Dharana Learning to How to Concentrate

Yoga is not an exit strategy or disconnection it is an entrance.

We use the poses to declutter the mind. And once we remove the clutter that has been molding our physical health, emotional stability, and mental sanity we can clearly set our course for being free from pain and suffering. This is why I don’t want anything we do in yoga class to be more distracting than how you live outside of class.

In our Western culture concentration is not something that is taught at a young age. We are given tv and video games and all sorts of ways to distract ourselves. But we aren’t taught ways to remove the clutter and distraction. Consequently most of us have not learned how to focus the mind to be present. Think about it: Who taught you how to concentrate?

As adults, our lives often involve a sense of rush that make it easy to get distracted by living a fast pace lifestyle. If anything, we learn from childhood to adulthood “how to be distracted”. And eventually we get really good at it.

Learning to concentrate is the key to reducing mental clutter because if we don’t our internal self-dialogue will distract us again and again. The ego-self loves to distract us from our bigger PURPOSE (dharma).

The mind is like a beam of light. However there is a difference between the first and second.

1. A beam such as a flashlight. This starts at a single point and grows wider as it leaves the source.

2. A beam of light like a laser (unlike the flashlight which starts at a small point and diffuses and gets bigger as it travels outward) the laser is focused light. It keeps moving inward toward a specific point and thus maintains its strength and focus.

When we are not distracted we are like the laser.

When we are distracted we are like the flashlight creating drama and over-exaggeration wherever we go.

DISTRACTED ENERGY – drains us

UNDISTRACTED ENERGY – energizes us

“DHARANA which means CONCENTRATION brings order to jumbled thoughts and judgements that clutter the conscious and unconscious mind. It’s like looking at a very messy and disorganzied room intitially there is the temptation to sit in a state of overwhelm and ignore the chore of organizing. But when you focus and you put things in place one at a time, the job gets done quickly and effectively.

Cleaning out the mind is not different. The task can be daunting but when we concentrate and focus the works moves swiftly. Without that deep level of concentration, however, it’s unlikely that much will change.”

Using yoga to learn the ways of dharana, concentration, allows us to make healthier choices and from that deep place of undistracted energy we can change our lives. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

Airport Yoga Workout: Feet, Ankles, Calves

All that walking through airports makes our lower legs really tired. Here is a great routine to do to alleviate fatigue.

ANKLES

Extension / flexion

While sitting up straight extend one leg and cross it over the other: ankle over knee so it hangs off, point and flex your toes.

Rotation

Now do circles with your ankles, trying to get as wide a circle as possible. Don’t forget to do both directions!

CALVES

Now stand up.

Extension / flexion

Lift your heels and put them down, repeat

Lift your heels and bend your knees in tip toe chair and go slightly up and down, hold, then heels down, straighten legs up to standing Mountain

Foot pressing

Stand near a wall and bring your right foot forward and put the ballmount of your foot on the wall, with your heel still on the floor

Now try to push your ballmount into the wall to feel a stretch in your calf to your comfort

PS – when you get to your hotel room, practice legs up the wall pose

Airport Yoga Workout: Shoulder Openers

While waiting at the airport why not make the most of your time and practice some yoga? One of my favorites is to do some shoulder openers in preparation for all the time that we’ll be on board rounded over.

Find a spot with a little bit of wall space.

Bring your hands on the wall shoulder distance apart, halfway down the wall

Walk your feet 3 feet back from wall you are facing and holding

This is Half Downward Dog with wall (so your hands don’t get dirty touching the floor)

Stay here and breath.

Add a Vinyasa:

Inhale lift your chest and press your hips towards wall like an Upward Dog

Exhale press back to Downward Dog with wall

Repeat 5-7 times

Now walk towards wall hands still on wall, bend your elbows like Chatarunga while standing

Turn your feet to the right and feel the twist

Turn back to center

Turn your feet to the left and feel the twist

Now face away from the wall and wrap one arm under the other for Eagle arms

Inhale lift your elbows

Exhale lower your elbows

This flosses your shoulders to relieve stress

End with yoga mudra. Stand tall reach your hands behind the small of your back to clasp. Hold and breath.

Vinyasa: Inhale lift up to center; Exhale bring your hands to one side of your waist, Inhale back to center, Exhale to the other side, Inhale back to center

Ahhhh all better now!

Rebel Spirit Manifesto

For all of you who have traveled with us and are rocking your Rebel Spirit t-shirts here is a link to a great article I wrote for mindbodygreen.

Part of it goes like this:
“Most of all BE DECISIVE! A good place to start is on the mat. That’s right, dedicate yourself to being forthright in your practice on the mat.

Here are four ways you can do this within the next 24-hours:
1. If you’ve been postponing your yoga practice or going on a yoga retreat then stop waiting and get-going today!

For the rest of the article please read at:
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4186/Be-Decisive-The-Rebel-Spirit-Manifesto.html

Moon Salutation – Chandra Namaskar

On day’s of the Full Moon it is important to honor the lunar energy by practicing a traditional Moon Salutation.

Moon Salutation – Traditional

Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) consists of 20 steps starting and ending with the prayer pose.

Step 1: Prayer Pose

Step 2: Half Moon Pose to the Right

Step 3: Half moon Pose to the Left

Step 4: Standing Backward-Bending Pose

Step 5: Transition Pose 1 Exhale as you return to vertical position. Inhale as you sidestep to the right, bringing straight arms down to shoulder level, parallel to the floor.

Step 6: Standing Legs-Apart Hands-to-Feet Pose Prasarita Paddatonasana

Step 7: Transition Pose 2 Inhale as you return to a vertical position, with straight arms over your head, palms pressed together, thumbs crossed, at the same time turning your torso & feet to the right (left foot slightly less).

Step 8: Standing Head-to-Knee Pose to the Right Pyramid

Step 9: Standing Head-to-Knee Pose to the Left

Exhale as you bend forward and down, right knee locked, directing your forehead toward your left knee. At the same time, try to touch the floor with your fingertips as far ahead of your left foot as you can. Gradually straighten your left leg, keeping your arms and fingers extended. Feel the stretch in your legs, back, shoulders, and arms.

Note: If this is too difficult, you might support yourself with your fingertips resting on the ground on either side of your foot.

Step 10: Standing Hands-to-Feet Pose Forward Bend

Step 11: Crescent Moon Pose on Right Leg – Lunge Knee Down

Inhale as you place your fingertips or palms on the floor beside your feet. At the same time take a big step back with your right, raising your torso and head, briefly assuming the Lunge Pose. Still inhaling, if you wish bring your hands over head

Step 12: Squatting Pose with Forward Bending Inhale as you place your fingertips or palms on the floor and bring your right leg forward equal with your left. Your weight is supported by your toes and fingertips. Your thighs are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you bend forward, bringing your chest as close to your thighs as possible, fully stretching your back.

Step 13: Crescent Moon Pose on Left Leg

Step 14: Downward Dog Pose

Step 15: Downward Dog Pose with Right-Leg Raise Inhale-exhale as you raise your right leg as high as you can, keeping your knee locked and pointing your foot. Inhale-exhale as you lower your leg & resume the Downward Dog Pose.

Step 16: Downward Dog Pose with Left-Leg Raise

Step 17: Cobra Pose Inhale as you roll forward, supporting yourself on your legs, belly and palms.

Step 18: Squatting Pose Inhale as you roll back onto your toes with help from your arms. Exhale as you lift your knees from the ground, still supporting yourself with your fingertips.

Step 19: Squatting Pose with Arms over the Head

Inhale-exhale as you raise your arms over your head, palms together, thumbs crossed. Your back straight, and your thighs parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch in your torso, shoulders, and arms.

Step 20: Prayer Pose Inhale as you stand up, simultaneously bringing your hands to your chest resuming Prayer Pose.