AM Practice to Increase Mental Focus 

Intention: Integrate right & left brain hemispheres while energizing and nourishing the system

Inspiration:

"In your heart may there be a sanctuary

For the stillness where clarity is born"

                                 - John O'Donohue

1.

Lie down on your back. Take a few moments to settle in. Notice your bodily sensations. Notice your mental state. Do you feel distracted, focused, foggy?

Notice your energy. do you feel tired, sleepy, energized?

Set an intention for your practice

Deepen your inhalation & lengthen your exhalation gradually. 

Take about 6 breaths

2.

As you inhale bring your arms up and then back toward the wall behind you as you simultaneously flex your ankles (with dorsiflexion, moving the toes toward the chin)

As you exhale come to the starting position, bringing the arms along the sides of your torso and relaxing the feet

Repeat the movement 6 times:

First 2 reps: pause one count after inhalation

Next 2 reps: pause two counts after inhalation

Next 2 reps: pause three counts after inhalation

Note: Only pause to a point where you are still relaxed and comfortable, the idea is to pause after inhalation as if you were still breathing in. NEVER FORCE THE BREATH.

2.b

Contralateral version: 

As you inhale bring the right arm back toward the wall behind you, simultaneously dorsiflex the left ankle. 

As you exhale come to the starting position

Then repeat the exercise on the other side

Do two rounds alternating sides

Breathing note: Long deep inhalation, a comfortable pause after inhalation, and a long exhalation 

3

Bridge pose

Bend your legs and bring your arms along the sides of your torso with the palms facing down. Take a few breaths and notice how you feel

When you feel ready, inhale lifting your pelvis, pressing your feet firmly down into the floor. Keep your neck relaxed

As you exhale come to the starting position unwinding your spine

Repeat the movement 2 times, making a short pause after each inhalation, as if you were still breathing in (not forcing!)

3.b

Contralateral version:

Now as you inhale lift your pelvis and simultaneously bring one arm all the way back toward the wall behind you and the other arm only half of the way

As you exhale come to the starting position

Repeat two times each side, alternating sides

4.

Cobra

 

Roll to one side and lie down on your belly. Bring your hands at the sides of your rib cage, with your elbows "hugging" your torso, forehead down

Take a couple breaths noticing the rhythm of your breath

As you inhale lift your chest and let the head follow

As you exhale go slowly back to the starting position

Repeat two times, making a short pause after inhalation

4.b

Contralateral:

As you inhale slightly lift your chest. Bring the left arm forward and lift your right leg slightly

Safety note: keep both sides of your pelvis stable on the floor at all times. Lift the chest slightly higher than the leg

As you exhale come to the starting position

Do two times each side alternating sides

 

Breathing note: continue making a short pause after inhalation. Always follow the rhythm of your breath. If you are out of breath, relax a moment before you continue, until the breath is smooth

Then turn your head to one side, bring your arms along the sides of your body, and rest

Take one comfortable deep breath; then turn the head to the other side and take one long breath. Allow the body to relax

5.

Balasana

Sit on your heals letting your torso rest on your thighs, head supported on the floor or a blanket

Note: arms can go forward or back, hands can also be stacked and support your head. Aim for a comfortable position where your back is getting a mild stretch as your neck and shoulders relax

Stay for two to four breaths. Notice the sensation in the back body as it mildly stretches

6.

Tadasana adaptation

Standing feet hip width apart and parallel, arms relaxed at the sides of the torso. Look straight forward and focus on attention on your breath

Inhale and lift your arms to the sides and then up, sweeping, until the palms are facing each other

Note: you can also add lifting your heels during this movement. It will improve your balance and increase strength in feet and calves, as well as activate blood flow

Breathing note: add a comfortable pause after inhalation

As you exhale bring your arms down to the starting position

Note: if you lifted your heals on inhalation, this is the time to slowly bring the heels down!

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Contralateral version:

This time, as you inhale lift one arm arm while lifting the other one to the side

Note: you can also add lifting your heels during this movement. It will improve your balance and increase strength in feet and calves, as well as activate blood flow

On exhalation bring your arms down to the starting position

Note: if you lifted your heals on inhalation, this is the time to slowly bring the heels down!

Repeat two times each side, alternation sides

Breathing note: add a comfortable pause after inhalation

7.

Vajrasana

 

Stand on your knees

Inhale lifting the arms forward and then up

As you exhale bring your forehead down to the floor reaching forward and down with your hands. Firm your abdominal muscles as you exhale

Repeat the movement 4 times

Breathing note: gradually increase the pause after inhalation

1st: one count

2nd: two counts

3rd: two to three counts

4th: three to four counts

NEVER FORCE THE BREATH!

8.

Savasana

Lie down on your back. notice how you feel now, compared to at the beginning of the practice. notice bodily sensations, your mental state, your energy.

Then rest for 3 to 5 minutes allowing your body to completely relax

9.

Short Meditation

Sit cross legged, kneeling or on a chair, in such a way that your spine is erect and your body comfortable

Reflect on the words from the poem by John O'Donohue:

"In your heart may there be a sanctuary

For the stillness where clarity is born"

Choose a question such as "Can I find stillness somewhere inside?", "Can I cultivate a place of stillness where clarity is born?

Formulate a question that is relevant to you, with your own words, referring to your own life at the moment

Bring your attention to the tip of your nose and see if you can notice the passage of air through your nostrils. Focus your attention the best you can on this sensation. If you get distracted, very gently bring your attention (over and over!) to the sensation of the air flowing through your nostrils

Stay for about 5 to 10 minutes (more if you are used to sit on Meditation), as if you were going to perceive the answer to your question, paying close attention to the subtle within. Keep an inner smile

Your practice is complete! 

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susanaviniyoga@gmail.com  
 Lake Oswego, Oregon. U.S.A. 
(503)706 5733 

© 2019 by susanaprana Susana Laborde-Blaj