Meditation is so beneficial for your mental and spiritual health, but many people find it daunting. The idea of sitting quietly and focusing on your breath without any outside distractions can seem quite alien to us because we live in a world that is filled with constant stimulation.
Meditation is a skill that you have to learn, and holding your focus without being distracted can be difficult, which is why many people give up after a few sessions.
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However, there are a few simple ways that you can improve your focus while meditating.
Choose A Focus For Your Meditation
The first thing to consider is what you want your focus to be.
There are lots of different meditation styles, each focusing your attention on something different. You can meditate on the breath, sounds, or even an object like a candle flame. Having a specific aspect of your life to focus on during meditation also gives you more direction. For example, focusing on gratitude is a great way to channel your meditation and see tangible results at the end.
Try CBD Oil
Research has shown that CBD oil can help you stay calm and focused throughout the day. If you suffer from anxiety or hyperactivity, CBD oil could be a good solution for your problems. People often find meditation hard because they cannot quiet their minds, and their anxieties get in the way. But if you use some CBD oil before your session, it can relax your mind and body and help you stay focused a lot better.
Start With Short Sessions
Meditation can be challenging because you are not used to being still and quiet for long periods of time. But when done correctly meditations are a simple way to improve focus and relieve stress.
But as meditation enthusiasts will no doubt tell you, the benefits outweigh the difficulties by far. One of the best things that beginners can do is start with short sessions and slowly build up. Start with five or ten minutes per session before gradually increasing the time.
Another option is to meditate at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit. Once you’re used to meditating, you will often find your mind wandering less and less, making meditation much easier.
Use Guided Meditation Videos
One of the best ways to learn meditation is using guided meditation videos because they do all the hard work.
Many people think that meditation has to be done in silence, but this isn’t true. You can use a guide, and this helps with your focus and also helps your mind relax. If you’re struggling with finding peace to meditate, then guided meditation videos can be a great option for you. You can find loads of great free ones on Youtube, and there are some great apps like Headspace that can help too. And don’t forget on HopeZvara.com we have customized meditations available and ready to download just for you.
Follow these simple steps, and you will see an improvement in your focus when meditating. It might not happen overnight, but if you stick with it, you’ll soon find that the length of time you spend focused during meditation increases, which leads to the benefits.
This video was created because of my yoga former teacher training students,
may you never stop learning.
The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing
I never really gave much thought to Down Dog. I mean, it was a pose that I could do for the most part. Sure my shoulders were weak, and I felt a bit shaky. Overall, my Dog was down.
Well, at least I thought. I believe there is a part of your brain that stops thinking, opening itself up to learning when we think we got it. That was me in Down Dog.
As my shoulders got stronger to hold the weight of my body, I began to build patterns to get the pose done. Patterns that left me avoiding critical areas that I could most certainly be liberating via The Dog.
A few years after entering into the world of teaching yoga, I soon discovered I was missing some significant aspects of training in the asana department. I mean, I knew the basics. This pose looks like this, so let’s shove your body into that pose. Amen. (insert sarcasm)
An entirely new world opened up to me when I stepped out of the yoga world to learn more about the body. Like really learn about how the body moves, why things happen, why body parts hurt and how to unwind the body with cues and directions beyond “if it hurts don’t do it” and “honor your body.” Which are both beautiful and sound cues, but I wanted to understand? I wanted my students to understand so that they and I could take back ownership over our bodies and start to truly mend injuries and issues that don’t ever seem to go away.
I took training from The Gray’s Institute. From Katy Bowman, Leslee Bender, Anatomy Trains, and got my hands on all I could find from the teachings of Dr. Stewart McGill, to name a few.
I first started to apply these concepts to my practice and saw a remarkable difference — less pain in my shoulders and lower back. The longstanding stability issues in my pelvis began to improve, and for the first time, I truly understood where the core was and how to access it.
There was a time I would walk around the room while teaching and see a student’s shoulders what I now know as “internally rotated.” I’d attempt to grab onto his (or her) upper arms and roll them out. And when they didn’t even move a millimeter, I’d walk away pretending like that was how it was supposed to be. If you are a teacher you can relate. I wanted to help; I saw the issue but didn’t know exactly how to adjust the pose or how to “fix” it. Like why didn’t that work? Why didn’t they move? What was I missing?
A lot of this video is to explain that. One’s shoulders are acting immobile and how to begin to correct this.
The day I was introduced to Puppy Dog in a new way, my entire teachings revolving around Down Dog and shoulder issues changed.
All-day long we sit, we are internally rotated at the shoulder, collapsed in the chest, and limited in mobility between the shoulder and the rib cage. So no wonder when we come to yoga and pop up into Down Dog with little notice and warm-up, we are in my mind (we could be) doing more harm than good.
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It is my observation that Down Dog and Puppy Dog’s focus is NOT the hamstrings as they often take over the pose. Using cues to press their heels down (which is fine and dandy) and walk their Dog as the first cue in the pose. The focus, first and foremost, is the spine and shoulders, hamstrings, and calves.
Downward Dog is us upside down. And we should approach it in such away.
If your hips are tight before a hippie pose, we work them. The same should be valid for the shoulders.
Meet Puppy Dog Pose. Puppy Dog is not a fancy pose and most often looked at as a modification or lesser variation. But do not be fooled, my friend. Puppy Dog will expose everything Down Dog lets you avoid.
Puppy Dog assertively guides your shoulders and arms into their proper position- external rotation. It’s that fantastic stretch across the upper back and gives you back that full range of motion a little bit by little bit that Down Dog has been allowing you to skip over for all these years.
Puppy Dog gives you that broadening, lift, and support we struggle to find in Down Dog. And when our Down Dog’s spine looks like a macaroni noodle releasing the hamstrings and bending the knees is the action step we want to cue. See, when the arms are at full extension, and the legs everything is pulled to its max and the spine gets caught in the middle. You end up with a rounded back, tucked pelvis and shoulder issues waiting to arise. Oh snap! I didn’t even mention proper leg rotation. GAME CHANGER!
As you will find out in this video, by releasing some of the tension and adequately positioning the shoulders, you get an entirely different experience. One that in my mind is wayyyyyy better than the stuff I was experiencing earlier.
Stiffness, not your issue? Watch the video and find out how to build stability by doing Down Facing Dog and Puppy Dog the right way.
But honestly, whether you watch this video or not. The Benefits of Down Dog and Puppy Dog are out of this world amazing!
Benefits of Down Dog and Puppy Dog:
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Energizes the body
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
- Strengthens the arms and legs
- Helps reduce the symptoms of menopause
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Improves digestion
- Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
- Tones the arms and legs
- Opens the chest
- Tones the arms
- Tones the core
- Releases the spine and back
- Builds strength in hands, wrists, shoulders
Check out Hope’s other blog: 5 Things You Should be Doing to Help Back Pain
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