Hello and Happy Monday,
I want to thank you all! Last week's email wasn't an easy one to write and I heard from so many of you and I am so very grateful. This past week felt like a month. I climbed out of wherever I was in - for the most part - and got on with my week. After I sent my email, I was typing up my Poly Vagal Ladder notes to share in my Yoga Training Program. My notes include how to recognize when you are down the ladder and how to climb back up. If that wasn't serendipity, I don't know what is. It truly helped a lot.
And just like that, we are in November and on a new limb. The first few limbs are spoken about and brought up in many yoga classes because they are easily accessible to most people. Once we start getting into these last few, much more dedication and discipline need to take place.
Dharana is the 6th limb and it means the concentration of the mind, focus, and attention. While there is a lot to this limb, I will start with a word that hopefully, you have heard in your yoga classes. Drishti, it means a focused gaze. You might have heard it said before going into a balancing posture. Find a spot on the floor to focus on, a drishti. There are technically 8 drishti's in yoga - where the focus is on the thumb, third eye, tip of nose, tip of fingers, left or right side, upwards, naval, and toes. But these are associated with certain postures or sequences.
Without knowing where to look, where does your focus go to in class? Is it at the other practitioner's? Is it at the teacher? Are you starting your pratyahara practice of turning inward?
Most teachers know that the point is to turn inward, a single gaze of focus can help with that. So can being asked at the beginning of class to set an intention or dedication? Or sometimes, the teacher will start with a "Dharma Talk", a topic that can she or he can bring up in the middle of class, to bring the attention back, then loop back to at the end of class to tie it all together.
The thing I love about yoga, about being human, about this life, is that we can try and try again. And we can create space to remind ourselves to look inward, to focus, and to breathe.
I ask you this, have you ever been to a class where you were focused, where the stars aligned - the teacher reminded you in the right parts, you were not distracted, everything clicked and felt just right. A Goldilocks class. Maybe you have had more than one. I would love for you to share with me if and when you have had that experience and if not too.
Wishing you all a wonderful week.