Distraction is a very big concern for many of my modified yoga clients. People are distracted by their phone, their obligations, and the bad news on news outlets. In this world of super speed; constant updates and information bombardment, it’s understandable that people can’t focus. Distraction and lack of focus becomes a force of habit. People haven’t been taught well, how to stay focused. So they just remain in a constant state of distraction. Modified yoga teaches people to focus with intensity. It allows them to make a choice to turn off the bad news, to free themselves. It gives them a choice; to stop worrying, about everybody else, in their lives for a brief time; without guilt.
How does it happen? While my clients are with me in my modified yoga class, I ask them to focus on the breathing, and on the pose, and a long point in front of them. When their minds wander I remind them, to come back and be in this present moment. To do a balance pose, without focus, sure it’s possible to do well. But it’s more likely that they will fall off-balance, the moment they lose their focus. When they really concentrate on their breathing, they move the focus from the top of the head through the tail bone. If they can continue to focus, they could also feel their feet grounded to the earth. They could hear their heart-beating.
We also do focused meditations in class. Many of my clients haven’t had much experience with meditation, and don’t know how to get into a complete state of relaxation, or a super calm space. An exercise of focus during meditation, eases them into awareness of the space around them. To be aware of everything that comes within the sight of the eyes, and peripheral vision. Sometimes I set an object in the middle of the circle, and have them sit still; with their eyes open, and to concentrate on the object in the center. Other times we do color meditation. To first have them focus, on a colored jacket or strap, in the circle center, so that when they close their eyes, the will be able to imagine the vividness of the color. Other times I ask them to touch their center of their palm, with one of their fingers. When they close their eyes, they can still feel, the finger which had made an impression, against their palm. I ask them to focus on that finger impression. All these techniques assist in their focus.
Back to our modified yoga poses. When a client focus on the body throughout the exercises, I ask him or her to scan their body, to find out if they can sense when there is tension. I then direct my client to breathe into those tight points. When in poses, it’s a good exercise to imagine that you can breathe past the area that you are working on. For an example if you were holding your leg in a pose, you would focus past the leg, to a point in space. The extended focus frees your mind from the confines of the body, and allows the client to feel, the pain or discomfort as located in a remote place, that is separate from their body.
Many poses are difficult, to do well one needs to focus. But more importantly I encourage my clients, to focus on what is really working for them. If there is pain, the best solution is to modify or accommodate their own body or distress. To focus on the moment, where the pose starts to become uncomfortable, and then to pull back is super helpful, for my clients, who have compromises, or challenges. The focus is one of self-acceptance and allowing.
The awareness, the breathing, the poses, the other participants in the class. It’s all part of it. When my clients are focused on poses, or focused inward; outside distractions dissolve after a moment. So the focus gained in a modified yoga class, is helpful, for adults, teens and young children. If everyone could learn to master focus, they could get far more accomplished, wouldn’t choose to focus on everything that went wrong, and would focus instead on what was good, and for what they could be grateful. They would learn to focus only on what is truly important, what they are passionate about, and would fully accept all the parts of them, be themselves, and just focus on this present moment. If people developed their ability to focus, I really believe that they could learn to heal with their focus. Starting with their own back, knees, and hips. By developing focus, I really think they could achieve anything they wanted.