Focus workshop notes
Bodywise, 30 April 2006
Dona Holleman's latest book Centering Down clearly explains and differentiates between the meaning of Attention and Concentration. I have written down a few points and quotations by her, and great minds such as Krishnamurti who have influenced Dona's deep understanding, and I hope it will help us to learn a little today!
Awareness or total attention is a non-selective 360 degrees around reflection, an equal reflection of everything. Total attention is the explosion of awareness from the centre that is not a centre. In one of these strange contradictions of life, what explodes from the centre outwards is something that is nothing.
Concentration is a focusing of the awareness, a pinpointing it toward a centre
From "Centering Down" (2005)
I do not know if you have ever noticed that when you give total attention there is complete silence. And in that attention there is no frontier, there is no centre as the 'me' who is aware or attentive. That attention, that silence is the state of meditation.
Focus of the eyes is to bring the vision into clarity. To see our object clearly and be able to hold it for as long as we need or want.
Focus in Yoga practice is to be able to see the non-selective 360 degrees reflection and to develop the ability to apply the 8 Vital Principles in union within that.
- The Meditative state of the mind or the not-doing of the mind
- Relaxing or not-doing of the physical body
- Intent or not-doing of visualization
- Rooting or the use of gravity
- Centering or the use of the hara
There is no order to the Principles. They are applied simultaneously. It is the Meditative state of mind in union with the breath that enables us to focus on them all at once!
Of course this is why we have to practice! There's a lot to learn, or to have learned before we can move back into the still place of our minds and see, feel and stay totally in touch with the whole experience. Our body then totally relaxes and is safe in its knowledge of understanding. This is our natural state of being. So what we are actually doing in Yoga is dissolving the unnecessary that overloads and complicates the simple clarity that lies under the confusion quietly waiting to be released. Touching on this release for even a moment is wonderful, healing, and is available to us all through the practice of Yoga and shared knowledge and experience with others.
- Nasikagra Drishti x 5. Hold for 5 seconds. Inhale towards nose Exhale as arm straightens
- Near and Distant viewing x 10-20. Hold for 5 seconds. Inhale near viewing Exhale distant viewing. Your homework, on your way home today, or the next time you have a horizon!
Both Mudras improve the accommodating and focusing power of the eye muscles
- Surya Pradarshini Mudra. Improves eyesight. Bestows glow in the practitioners eyes. Immensely helpful for strained and tired eyes.
- Principles 1 & 2 sitting. Peripheral Vision
- Kapalabhati very subtly focusing on the Hara.
- Tadasana & Urdhvahastasana
- Parsvottanasana in stages
- Parivrtta Trikonasana
- Ardha Chandrasana (top arm around standing thigh and releasing lower arm into balance)
- Lying over bolster breathing and Hara awareness
- 3' s stretching. Bolster under belly
- Pairwork opening shoulders over bolster
- Bhujangasana I
- Urdhvamukha Svanasana
- Adhomukha Svanasana
- Salambasana knees bent arms back palms up
- Bakasana or towards as a counterpose to back bends.
True Love is boundless like the ocean and, rising and swelling within one, spreads itself out and, crossing all boundaries and frontiers, envelops the whole world.
"Mahatma" MK. Gandhi