Focus & Concentration

Focus and concentration are the two complementary components of meditation, and grow organically from the regular practice of yoga asanas. While focus and concentration may sound identical, they are different in scope and application. Focus is the ability to focus on a chosen object in the field of attention, while concentration refers to the ability to sustain that focus over time. 

While regular practice of yoga asana provides the foundation for focus and concentration, thus mediation, to emerge, the conscious employment of gazing points, Drshti in Sanskrit, especially fosters these abilities.  The meditative flow of Vinyasa further enhances the effect of Drshti. Each of the twelve "stations" of the Vinyasa sequence has a specific point of focus.  This practice assumes you are familiar and comfortable with the Vinyasa sequence and layers the practice of Drshti on that sequence.  For each station of the Vinyasa, turn your gaze to the specified body part and sustain it there, moving seamlessly from one gazing point to the next, just as you move your body from one asana to the next. Pay special attention to the internal body sensations accompanying this practice.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Yoga Towel or Blanket

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this routine.

 

Step 1: Mountain (Drshti: off tip of nose)
Duration: exhale
Pose Review: Mountain Pose

Engage your core, focus on your breath and press your feet evenly into the ground as you lengthen through your tailbone and lift your sternum. Smile!


Step 2: Raised Hands Pose (Drshti: Thumbs)

Duration: inhale
Pose Review: Raised Hands Pose

Sweep your arms up and overhead with a gentle lift of your chest while your core steadies your spine and lower body; hands come together over your crown.


Step 3: Awkward Chair Pose (Drshti: Thumbs)
Duration: exhale-inhale
Pose Review: Awkward Chair Pose

Sit back and down so your weight is over your heels as your fingertips reach up, shoulders back and chest lifted.


Step 4: Forward Bend (Drshti: Third Eye)
Duration: exhale
Pose Review: Forward Bend

Lower your torso to your thighs as you straighten your legs, keeping your belly lifted and legs engaged. Reach your fingers to the floor.


Step 5: Now Look up (Drshti: Third Eye)

Duration: inhale

Offering your heart forward, use your core to lengthen your spine with your hands on the floor and transfer your weight to your hands.

    
Step 6-7: Plank-Four Limbed Staff Pose (Drshti: Third Eye)
Duration: exhale
Pose Review: Plank, Four Limbed Staff Pose

Lightly spring back to Plank pose by lifting through your core and bandhas and extending your legs behind you. Immediately bend your elbows back and close to your ribcage while maintaining the integrity of your spine. Shoulders stay in the back plane of the body without rounding forward, head stays inline with the spine, neck neutral and face relaxed.

    
Step 8: Upward Facing Dog (Drshti: Third Eye)
Duration: inhale
Pose Review: Upward Facing Dog

Drawing your heart forward, roll over your toes until the tops of your feet are on the ground with your toes pointed. Engage your core to ease your low back and keep a neutral neck and soft face.


Step 9: Downward Facing Dog (Drshti: Navel)
Duration: exhale + 5 breaths
Pose Review: Downward Facing Dog

Lifting your hips back and up, drop your heart while extending your arms. This is where you rest to regain your steady breath if you feel overextended. You can also drop to your knees for Child’s pose if you need more rest.


Step 10: Forward Bend (Drshti: Third Eye)

Duration: exhale
Pose Review: Forward Bend

Prepare on the 5th inhale in Down Dog by bending your knees a lot and looking forward to where you want your feet to land. With extended, strong arms, on the exhale spring forward as much from the engagement of your core and bandhas as from springing off your toes. Transfer your weight to your hands while you draw your knees in and up and lightly land your feet between your hands.


Step 11-12: Awkward Chair Pose - Up Hands (Drshti: Thumbs)
Duration: inhale
Pose Review: Awkward Chair Pose

Dropping your hips back and down, weight centered over heels, wave your heart up through your core and reach your arms out by your ears. Immediately press the Earth away with your feet to extend your legs, lift your heart and arms to the sky.

Perform as many repetitions of this cycle as you’d like by returning to Step 1: Mountain Pose. Always finish with an exhalation in Mountain Pose. Continue only as long as your breath remains steady and unforced through your nose. If you begin to become winded and your breath loud or ragged, stop, rest and regain your focus before continuing to the next asana in the cycle.


Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.


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