Yoga for better focus and concentration

by Delight Yoga

In order not to fall into unhelpful patterns, we have to train our minds to develop focus and concentration. Yoga offers many different techniques you can use to quiet the mind - in this blog, you will learn why Meditation and Yoga Nidra are powerful tools for improving your concentration and staying focused.  

But why are focus and concentration so important? Concentration is the ability to pay attention to a certain task, job, or goal while ignoring the irrelevant thoughts that might keep us away from achieving them. Focus helps us pay attention to one activity at a time, which we may find especially difficult in a society that praises multitasking. 

Many of us tend to create impressively long to-do lists - but this can actually do more harm than good.   Keeping our mind occupied with different tasks keeps us away from thinking about what we are actually doing and makes us concentrate only on the result of the task. When you are focused on one thing at a time, your choices become much clearer because you can pay attention to your decision-making process. If we focus our attention on one task at a time, we are more aware of what is important and can fully engage with our creativity and problem-solving skills.

What is meditation and how does it affect our focus and concentration?

Meditation refers to a broad variety of practices where an individual trains the mind and induces a specific mode of consciousness. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and create internal relaxation and awareness. The practice of meditation is usually done individually in a still seated or lying position with the eyes closed.

While practising meditation we train our awareness and get a healthy sense of perspective. We are not trying to turn off our feelings and emotions, we try to observe and understand them without judgement. Bringing awareness back to our breath everytime we feel our mind is wandering during meditation helps us to train the focus in our everyday lives.

Meditation helps quiet the area that responds to stress. This allows us to experience highly stressful situations from a calm mindset and keeps us from devoting our attention to emotional triggers - finding greater peace and stillness within. It was found that breathing, an important component of yoga and meditation, affects the level of noradrenaline, which is the chemical affiliated with curiosity, engagement, and enthusiasm. When noradrenaline is released through breath, the brain forms new connections which enhance sustained focus. Even as short as 10 minutes of meditation each day has a significant effect on our concentration.

What is Yoga Nidra and how does it improve our focus and concentration?

Yoga Nidra is also known as “yogic sleep” because it translates to sleep meditation - a practice of conscious relaxation designed to release tension in our body, mind and energy field. Yoga Nidra draws our attention inwards, where we learn to find the balance between wakefulness and sleep. It is usually practised laying down with a teacher guiding the session.

In a Yoga Nidra class, we are guided into a state of deep relaxation where we can turn our attention easily and effortlessly to the very nature of awareness and consciousness. By focusing our attention on different parts of our body and relieving them of tension, we are reconnecting with our wholeness and becoming aware of our true, unified nature as we come to a peaceful, restful state of being. Yoga Nidra is a method of transferring consciousness from our outer environment to our unconscious mind.

We remain at a waking level of awareness while focusing on the brain and allowing thoughts to come and go, focusing more deeply on ourselves and letting go of any other distractions. Yoga Nidra clears accumulated impressions in the mental body which are clogging the system, after which our mental body is better able to operate and focus more on the intake of new information.

The benefits of Yoga Nidra and Meditation

- increase attention span
- increase focus and concentration
- refine mental clarity
- improve quality pattern
- stress reduction
- deep relaxation and healing
- lessen anxiety, worry and impulsivity
- increase memory retention and recall
- help decision making and problem-solving
- improve the immune system and energy levels
- decrease heart and brain problems
- increase positive mood, relaxation and awareness
- improve relationships