This week we’ve been talking about yoga. For the meditation we will practice some mental pose holding so that we can strengthen our inner focus.
In yoga several poses are learned and held and moved through. It has been said, and I believe that the true growth happens when the pose gets hard. This is because it kicks up all kinds of thoughts and emotions in us that we are forced to deal with and overcome in those moments. This is the inner work of yoga – or the spiritual part of it.
This meditation is meant to trigger the same kinds of reactions – so it is important to be gentle and have the mindset of the observer – not the judge. Just observe the thoughts. Witness what you mind does and just keep going.
First get yourself into a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Center yourself and relax into your meditative state of mind. Take a step back mentally and become the observer of your thoughts. Feel this space before you embark on the next part.
We’re going to play with focus now and just see what happens. It would be a good idea to journal about what happens so you can try it again later and see how much farther you get.
For the next several moments I want you to just focus on the color orange. Picture it in you mind’s eye and thing about the color.
Many things will start to happen in your mind as soon as you picture this color. Just observe them and keep focusing.
After your mind wanders off completely and you find yourself thinking about your aunt Bessy’s old cow or what you want to eat for dinner next Thursday you can stop. Notice how long you were able to focus for. Was it long or short? Try not to judge it but just take note of it.
Next I want you to focus on a gray rainy day and see what happens.
Just like with the color orange you most likely start to think of the many sensations and associations of a rainy day.
Stay focused for as long as you can and when you completely lose your focus and find you are thinking of something unrelated stop and take note again of how long you lasted.
For the final focus exercise I want you to think of a place you want to vacation to and imagine yourself there doing something stationary like laying on the beach or in the grass or on top of a mountain. Some place happy for you. And just hold your focus there as long as possible.
Again take note of how long you lasted.
Once you have completed the meditation you should journal about how it was. What kinds of things did you think about when you got distracted? How long did you last over all. Was it easier for you to retain focus on something unemotional like the color orange or was it easier to remain focused when you had more context of a situation to focus on.
You will learn a lot about yourself by playing with your focus this way.
Doing this over and over again you will notice different things about yourself each time – and you will also develop a higher mental stamina for focus even when you are not meditating. (Look out Adderall!)
Peace – Sara