“Where focus goes, energy flows.” Tony Robbins
I recommend that you take one of the ideas below at a time and use it as the focus point for your session—as the object of your meditation.
In yoga, we primarily breathe in and out through the nose and try to synchronise our breath with movement—inhaling as we open and exhaling as we close. Once you become more experienced, you may start to sense this wave of expansion and contraction throughout your session.
Try to increasingly slow down your breath in the gentler sequences. Training the ability to drop into the parasympathetic nervous system is essential for managing performance-related stress. Also, when your body and mind are relaxed, you are more receptive to stretching. You don’t want to get into a fight against your body to recover faster. There are no winners in that situation.
You can also use the breath to notice if you are using too much force in a pose. It is an excellent barometer in monitoring the control you have over your body and your environment.
If you find it hard to concentrate on your breath for more than a few minutes at a time, that is completely normal. With consistent practice, you will incrementally start to train this ability. It will become automatic.
In yoga, you have the benefit of putting awareness front and centre. Every movement should be mindful. In this way, not only do you get the most out of the practice but you also keep yourself safe from injury.
You never just want to drop into a pose and hang out there. Try to find a balance between engagement and relaxation.
In the more physical workouts, try to keep your core engaged throughout, and think about keeping your shoulders and knees safe with careful alignment.
"Yoga has remarkable brain-scrubbing attributes." Joe Rogan
Meditation is really really hard. Our minds are thinking machines and choosing where to focus our attention is practically impossible.
In yoga, however, we can experience flow or being in the zone as we do when practicing our sport. Ideally we become so absorbed in a task at the outer limits of our ability that requires so much focus and concentration, that irrelevant, mundane or even counter-productive thoughts take a break from arising in consciousness.
Try to bring this intention to your yoga sessions. There is plenty to focus on within yourself and your experience for those 15 minutes on the mat. Everything outside of that can wait a while.
I'd love to hear from you guys. What pro tips can you share with us that you have felt to be key to levelling up your practice?