Yoga and concentration
Do you sometimes hardly know where your head is, because you have so many things to do at the same time?
Carelessness and lack of concentration complicate everyday life. But the ability to focus our attention and focus can be practiced! What’s more, it has far-reaching consequences for our entire lives. Every child should learn to be attentive and focused at an early age. The ability to hold and focus attention is more about the child’s future than a child’s IQ or the financial situation of the family in which it grows up.
The concentrative practice and the deliberate focus of attention are also the nuts and bolts in yoga. To focus one’s own attention and to concentrate in a certain action and in the present should help in the long term to understand oneself. For the first time, the concentrative practice is mentioned in the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas. Already there yoga is described as a disciplined introspection and meditative concentration.
And so it is: Regardless of whether we practice mindfulness, meditation, pranayama, or asana, concentrating on the execution of what we do, and thus the now, is of great importance. We focus on a particular exercise and keep all our attention there. If our thoughts wander off while practicing balance positions, we will lose balance and fall. And that’s just one example of why focused attention is always and everywhere important in yoga.
In the Yoga Sutra after Patanjali, Dharana, concentration, forms the sixth stage of the eight limbs of yoga. It is designed to prepare practitioners for practicing meditation. This in turn is not possible without prior concentration practice.
The concentrative exercises of yoga in the long term strengthen our brain areas – such as the prefrontal cortex (PFK – cognition) and the hippocampus (memory), which help us in the long run to be more focused, to better control ourselves and what we perceive correctly in our memory. Better activity in these areas helps us to be attentive, to think clearly and to make decisions.
Yoga therefore promotes our ability to decide in which direction we want to focus our attention and what we really and consciously want to “see” and “hear” in our lives. And that’s not so easy … Let’s handle over 90% of everything we do and do every day without really being aware of it. And that has consequences: our consciousness is “veiled” …. Smartphones, tablets and the constant confrontation with messages is everywhere.
But when you have practised Pratyahara and have withdrewelled all the 5 senses from objects and subjects, you will be able to move inwards to consciousness. This makes your mind fit for concentration, Dharana.