Snap to Focus
Distractions at home driving you mad during #WFM rotations? These yoga poses will sharpen your focus when the kids, chores, and Netflix threaten to take over your to-do list
We’ve all felt the delicious wash of calm after a yoga class. But if you’re not able to get to a class (because you’re stuck meeting deadlines from home during the pandemic), you can still access the feeling of calm alertness a yoga session brings with simple poses that can be done during a break.
This may be an especially needed respite when working from home. This may surprise some, who have always yearned for the opportunity to work in their pyjamas and watch Netflix during extended lunch breaks. But the home environment has its flipside. Not only are there the usual sources of distraction you’d encounter in the office (like the phone constantly pinging and emails coming in), but there can be added sources like deliveries, children demanding attention, or that mounting pile of laundry/dishes/books you want to “sneak” read.
All this stimuli can frazzle our nerves and pulverise our attention span. Thankfully, yoga provides a quick and easy solution. “The Yoga Sutras state very clearly right from the beginning that the aim of Yoga is to still the Mind (Yoga citta vrtti nirodhaha)”, says Pearl Bhasin, who teaches Dharma Yoga and Gokul Yoga at The Yoga School. The poses below are simple, but yield the invaluable benefits of a mind that becomes settled and still, breathing that’s slowed, and a surge of energy so you’re ready to tackle the next task on your to-do list with renewed focus and clarity.
ASANA #1: TADASANA (UPRIGHT STANDING POSE)
– An excellent pose for centreing the self.
– Promotes good posture.
– Opens out the chest area to increase oxygen intake.
– Stand with your feet together, and point your toes forward.
– Shift the weight of your body backward and forward in a gentle rocking motion until you reach your centre of balance.
– Tuck in the pelvis and buttocks slightly, and ensure the pelvis is centred.
– Extend the spine and lift the sternum. You can imagine someone pulling you up from the head.
– Keep the arms beside the body, with the fingers pointed downward.
– Your feet should feel firm on the ground, yet poised.
ASANA #2: UTTANASANA (STANDING FORWARD BEND)
– Brings a feeling of calm
– Increases blood flow to the face and brains, promoting a clear mind
– Stretches the hamstrings, lower back and spine
– Tones legs
– Massages abdominal organs and helps eliminate wind, constipation and indigestion
– Stand tall with the feet together.
– Inhale and raise the arms over the head.
– Exhale and lean out, then down, so you bend at the hips.
– Keeping the knees straight, hold on to your ankles, calves or knees (whichever your flexibility allows).
– Try to breathe slowly and deeply, for at least three breaths.
– To come up, bend the knees first. Then gently raise the spine until you are in an upright position.
ASANA #3: ARDHA CHANDRASANA (HALF-MOON POSE)
– Promotes balance, helping the mind to focus.
– Stretches and strengthens the leg muscles, hips and waist.
– Enhances the flexibility of the lower spine.
– Stand tall and take your feet about one metre apart.
– Turn your right foot to the right side, about 90 degrees, and turn the left foot towards the right slightly.
– Bend the right knee.
– Lean over the right knee slightly and place your right hand on the floor, about 20cm in front of the right knee.
– Keep the left arm against the left side of the body.
– Look up at the ceiling, if you can, by turning your head sideways.
– Hold the pose for three to six breaths.
– Repeat the pose on the other side.