Focus, and how it can reduce stress

This is a GUEST POST from a friend from the blogosphere – Nadine. A certified instructor from South Africa, she first came across Yoga more than a decade ago and has never left it since then. Currently based out of Melbourne, over the years, she has taught Yoga to 5000+ people. To know more about her, do visit her website – Yoga with Nadine.

Most of yoga practice is about focus: focusing on your breath, focusing your eyes on a point to help you balance.

When I am teaching people to stand on one leg, I am very fond of saying, ‘Focus your eyes to focus your mind’.

I’m sure you’ve had this experience: wherever your eyes go, you go. When I was a teenager learning to drive, my instructor made that point very clearly. She had me trundle the car along veeeeery slowly, then told me to look left. Sure enough, the car went left.

Especially when we are learning a new skill, like driving or standing on one leg, focus is important. As we become more competent, we are often able to look around and stay on the straight (or balanced, as the case may be).

But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

It’s the focus that gives us a break from the relentless chatter inside our heads. That’s why activities that bring us into a state of ‘flow’, like yoga can, are so satisfying.

In yoga, we call the focused gaze drishti. We call the focus of the mind nirodhah. Fancy Sanskrit words aside, those two are pretty much the same thing: where your eyes go, you go.

Try it this week: find a focus that is different from your usual. If you tend to worry & feel overwhelmed a lot, try a focus like this:

‘I choose to pause and breathe deeply, even in the busy times.’

Or you might try focusing on all the ways you are grateful.

Or making a vision board: I am working on one now. I’m finding it a great way to express goals and desires that I am too chicken to write in words. Plus, it’s something I can look at every day to keep me on track…

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