December 3, 2014
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org ®
The road to achieving peace is unknown to many. Some people follow their instincts, focus on their hobbies, religious believes or the love they feel toward their family and find some kind of way to reach a peaceful place in a world filled with obstacles and challenges. Practicing yoga is an organized method of relaxing the body, calming the mind and achieving a higher state of consciousness. It is not a matter of simply placing the body in various postures but concentrating, visualizing, meditating and understanding.
Concentrating can be a difficult task even if the postures one tries to perform are simple. The mind is buzzing with thoughts, impressions, emotions, plans, worries and what not else. The process of freeing the mind from these obstacles and focusing on the present moment is a great task. However concentration is a prerequisite for meditation and it can be achieved by focusing ones attention and practicing how to stay unaffected by your own thoughts and expand your consciousness.
This process requires selecting an external, internal or universal point of concentration. Trataka means to gaze steadily at a fixed point i.e., concentrated gazing. Using external trataka i.e. bahiranga means to choose and focus on a single object such as a candle light, a mandala or mantra and internal trataka or anaranga is the process of visualization of an object.
You can use several symbols for tratataka such as a candle flame, yantras (mystical diagrams), mandalas, the full moon, or even your own shadow. In the beginning you will need to try several times and will probably not succeed in keeping your concentration for a very long period of time but, as you continue practicing and trying you will start noticing gradual improvement of your ability to focus and thus concentrate on the selected object.
In this process of concentration you can either chose to be mindful and observe all that you feel, think, hear, see and smell so that later on you could easily concentrate or focus on freeing your body from external influences and direct your attention to what you have selected. Both possibilities will lead you to an improved concentration but you must be aware that you need to be committed to what you are doing and believe in its positive effects. When we are able to concentrate, we are able to be more efficient, calm, steady, focused, and to achieve our goals in life.
There are many yogic techniques which can improve our mental concentration, breathing exercises (pranayama), balancing poses such as the crane pose, sarvangasana or the sholder stand pose, sun salutation, trataka, the tree stand pose, the camel pose, and so on. These poses and techniques help us get to the point when the brain starts functioning on a higher level. Practicing concentration has a lot of benefits, it helps with anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration, fatigue, headaches and so on. It has an overall positive influence of our bodies and our minds. So make sure you find some time to spend on it during the day.