How to zone out so you can zone in during class

Yoga classes can sometimes feel really busy. There’s the teacher’s chatter, the sounds of other people breathing (occasionally heavy), the music, heat perhaps — not to mention the distraction of the cute guy in the front row.

You may be seated too close to another person’s mat (unless you are next to the cute guy in the front row).

Feeling the collective energy in a class can be energizing. This will help you maintain your energy and create yogic “good vibes.” However, you don’t want the negative energy of the class to affect you, including feeling other people’s frustration or pain.

Here are some things you can focus on if your day is super busy or if you want to zone out to zone in.

Find Your Drishti

A drishti can be thought of as a focal spot in front of you that changes with each asana, such as the fixed gaze on top of the middle finger of Warrior II. However, it can also be a focus that you maintain throughout your class.

You can use mirrors to gaze softly into your third eye or eyes. This is not done to judge, criticize, or admire yourself. It’s just to focus your attention and energy. Many teachers will tell you to find your drishti before class. This is a way to drop the ego, not compare yourself to others, and stop comparing.

It’s not vain to stare at yourself if you are trying to see inside yourself, contrary to popular belief!

Listen For Your Breath

You’ll probably be told this and reminded of it throughout the class. Breath focus is essential not only to help you move into and out of poses but also to keep you from being distracted by your ego and other students.

When you practice Ujjayi breath, your breathing becomes a rhythmic and audible wave. This can help you maintain focus in even the most challenging of postures.

Listen Only For Alignment Indicators

Yoga teachers love to talk about the benefits of yoga postures. We also like to use Sanskrit to sound intelligent, to remind students to breathe, and to wax poetic with their yoga philosophy. Sometimes, all you need are some alignment cues.

Even if you’re familiar with asanas and have mastered them, this focus will help you gain a deeper understanding of your body, which in turn will lead you into your true zone. You don’t have to worry about disrespecting the teacher if you listen selectively. Sometimes, your attention is firmly focused on their words, and other times; you may need your own space.

When it’s hot, you can see the sweat.

You may want to ignore the sweat beads that roll down your arm or leg to get used to the discomfort. Focusing on the same beads of perspiration brings you to a greater awareness of your body and helps you zone in.

Focus on one aspect of the practice.

You could choose strength or balance as your class’ “theme.” Balance will naturally grab your attention in standing balance poses, arm balances, and inversions, but you can focus on balance in any asana.

When you’re in Child’s Pose and seated back, do your sit-bones come closer to the heel on one side than the other? Does one shoulder have more space in Trikonasana?

You could choose to concentrate on a specific part of your body, such as your lower lumbar spinal column. You will naturally focus inwards if you narrow your attention.

Listen to the music

Listening to and creating your class soundtrack can help you focus on yourself and get away from any distracting thoughts or noises in the classroom.

Have a conversation with yourself (not out loud, of course!)

You can repeat a mantra or affirmation or talk to yourself silently throughout the class. If you don’t think about the bills you need to pay or what you want to eat for dinner, you can be your best cheerleader and advisor.

Savasana is the final pose of the class. It’s all about finding yourself and zoning out. But with the right focus, you can achieve this sense of stillness throughout your entire practice. That’s why yoga is called “moving mediation.”

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