Yoga for Concentration, How to Increase Concentration Power
Concentration meaning, What is Concentration?
Meditation as described in yoga is nothing but concentration. In concentration the mind is focused on a single object, idea, or on nothingness. As per advaita, the individual elements of the entire creation as created by God are also God in themselves, thus concentrating on any of these elements, objects can help one to eventually realize God.
Put differently, concentration is holding the mind on only one thought for a specific period of time. First an effort is made to reduce the area of operation of the mind by limiting the number of thoughts arising within it to a small circle, or thoughts related to a single concept, then slowly the mind is forced to stick to only one thought out of the bunch of thoughts about a single entity, concept. When one concentrates on an object, first all the thoughts related to only that object are summoned; one doesn’t allow thoughts related to any other object seep into the mind. After practicing for a considerable time the mind automatically begins to stick to only one thought about that object. One experiences joy, bliss and inner strength by habituating one’s mind to remain concentrated for a particular period of time every day.
How to increase concentration power with Yoga
The practitioner of the yoga exercises for concentration is showered with the feeling of contentment and peace. The mind rests upon the object of concentration like a tired bird finds a branch to take a breather upon. Power is added to the thought one has chosen to concentrate upon, as the fire gets ignited when one concentrates the scattered rays of the sun on a limited area on a paper through a magnifying glass. Similarly the thought one concentrates upon gets powered up enough to boost the efficiency of the practitioner to the level where he can implement it with complete success.
Yoga for better focus benefits in the same manner as when the power of the flowing water in the river is magnified many times by directing its course through a dam so that it is able to generate electricity. Concentration of the thought means that we need to first get rid of the thoughts which are irrelevant to the purpose in mind and then increase the power of the single purposeful thought which remains behind after the mental filtration process is complete.
The yoga to improve concentration is like anchoring a boat to a post or tying a cow to a pole in order to limit their area of movement. Yoga for better focus trains the mind on limiting our choices, the mind can still go around but only on the limited area of the related thoughts of a single object. The peace of mind is inversely related to the number of thoughts in the mind. One can either concentrate on an external object, solving a puzzle, or on an internal idea for experiencing peace of mind. Even while engaging in recreation activities like practicing a hobby helps one experience peace because the mind remains engrossed into the activity undertaken erasing all the other thoughts for at least for the duration the activity is undertaken.
Pranayamas for concentration benefit as one trains to keep one’s attention on the breath by eliminating all other thoughts tending to haze the mind. A large number of techniques which help boost concentration can form the part of the yoga to improve concentration. After one knows what it feels like having a mind which is concentrated, one realizes that the happiness isn’t in the object of concentration but in the experience of gathering our thoughts from all over and focusing them on something. Regular practitioners of yoga for concentration eventually realize that owing to the changing nature of the external objects they concentrated upon to begin with, the bliss so achieved is also not permanent. Thus one must slowly graduate to concentrating on the uplifting object present within one self in order to experience eternal bliss.
As per Patanjali, Dharana, the sixth limb of ashtanga yoga is concentration. The reason behind placing of pratyahara before dharana or concentration by Patanjali in his eight fold path is the answer to the question many seekers ask; how to increase concentration? First one has to withdraw the mind form the objects of the senses which constantly feed it with sensations – pratyahara – and then tie down the mind onto a single object or thought – dharana – or concentrate the thoughts about this object.
Depending upon the degree of concentration that can be achieved the mind can be categorized into five modes:
Mudha – Dull mind
Kshipta – Scattered – occasionally steady
Vikshipta – Gathered - focused and efficient
Ekagra – One-pointed – stable and happy
Nirudha – Absorbed - Feeling of bliss
Improve your concentration with these yoga poses