The end of the school year can be a crazy time. Last week was a particularly busy week for my travel soccer team. The girls had graduations, spring concerts, school art shows, and dance recitals to attend, in addition to the one or sometimes two other spring sports that they play. Many of the girls were unfocused and distracted as they came to practice in varying states of undress. My daughter ran onto the field without realizing that she was wearing her volleyball kneepads instead of her shin guards. Another girl discovered that she only had one soccer cleat and one basketball sneaker in her gym bag. Half of the team was already dressed for lacrosse since they had to leave soccer practice and head straight to their game.
When practice was over everyone rushed to get to their next commitment. My daughter, her teammate, and I were left to pick up the balls, cones, and discarded water bottles. Walking to the car, I noticed a patch of clovers. I asked the girls if they knew how to make clover bracelets. I told them that I would spend hours with my friends lying in the grass making bracelets and looking for shapes in the clouds. They looked at me with confusion, the concept of having time for such trivial things was foreign to them.
At first, they giggled and chatted as they attempted to tie knots in the delicate stem of the clovers. After a few moments, they became quiet and peaceful as they focused on creating their flower jewelry. I noticed a shift in their energy as all of the busyness and distractions seemed to fall from their little minds.
For five minutes, neither of them spoke, they just created flower jewelry.
Their sustained attention allowed their minds to rest a bit, bringing them into an almost meditative state. It was really beautiful to watch the girls looking so peaceful and enjoying the moment.
Although they didn't know it, they were practicing the sixth limb of yoga.
Dharana is the practice of focusing your attention on one thing. Doing so results in "stilling the fluctuations in the mind." When our minds are still, we can begin to connect to our true nature which according to yoga philosophy is peaceful, happy, and loving. This mind state is yoga.
It can be difficult to add another thing to your already packed schedule, but practicing Dharana regularly can help you to calm down when begin to feel your mind spinning out of control. You can focus on an external thing like a flower or a candle flame, or an internal thing like your breath or a mantra.
Even five minutes a day is beneficial and it can lead you to the deeper practice of Dhyana or meditation. In meditation, your sustained attention becomes effortless, and you have transcended the mind to merge with your object of focus.
Training the mind to stay centered and focused can result in discovering the wonder and beauty in the simple things that life has to offer. So instead of stopping to smell the flowers, stop and pay attention to them and you might just find yourself there.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras