“The only prudence in life is concentration.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Weekly Focus: Dharana (focused concentration)
Winter is a perfect time to work on and practice the art of meditation. This is a natural time of quiet which may lead us towards an inclination to deep introspection, guiding us to meditation. When we are able to relax the body + the mind with the breath, set aside space + time free of distraction, we can then begin to fix our concentration on the thoughts. This stillness + remoteness allows us to tend our internal considerations. Observing, noticing, allowing whatever will come to come. Never judging, just noting and filing away.
Active Pose of the Week: Kakasana (crow pose)
Nothing requires a focused attention like an arm balance. If the attention falters, we often topple. To take crow pose, start in a squat position + firmly plant the hands to the ground, bend the elbows like a pushup while leaning forward, hug your knees to the outer arms, allowing the weight to shift forward + balance on the hands. Pro-tip: keep focused attention on your gaze and be sure to look just forward of your hands. Imagine squeezing everything together even as you feel the seat lift up.
Feel challenging? Place a thick bolster or block underneath of the head to help the balance — you get the feel of the pose without collapsing forward. Feel too easy? Try straightening those arms to get closer to a Bakasana — crane pose.
Passive Pose of the Week: Virasana (hero’s pose)
The propped version of this pose is often a seat for pranayama (breath work) + meditation — a natural link to the weekly focus. Allow this seated moment to be an opportunity to re-center. Come to a kneeling position first. Begin to bring your seat to either the floor or a block, sitting between the feet. Feet will line up outside of the hips, knees will come together. As you lift the spine, stack your shoulders over the hips. Try taking 2-3 minutes of breath work or meditation here. If you find it hard to engage dharana (focused concentration) here, try following a guided meditation or breath practice. There are many free tools that you can use online or on your phone. Insight Timer is a free app with loads of meditations ranging from short to long lengths.