Does Yoga Help You Focus? This Is The Flow You Need To Help You Get Sh*t Done
Everyone has those days when it feels virtually impossible to get literally anything done. No matter what you do, staying focused seems like the world's most difficult task, and the mere thought of checking things off your to-do list is low-key comical. In case you didn't know, yoga can help you focus and find the mental stamina to buckle down and get sh*t down when you need that motivation most. And luckily for you, I have the perfect flow in mind for your productivity woes.
While you might think that squeezing in a rejuvenating yoga flow would actually give you less time to accomplish the things you need to get done (because isn't rolling out your mat kind of procrastination in and of itself?), the amount of focus and energy you'll have after you're done with your asana practice will actually provide you with more time to achieve all the tasks you have at hand.
Think about it this way: After a little bit of yoga, you'll feel less tempted to mindlessly scroll through social media, your mental chatter will finally simmer down a bit, and you'll feel totally zen, grounded, and ready to take on anything else your day throws at you, no matter how stressful it may be.
So, the next time you're feeling totally scatter-brained and highly unproductive, try this simple yoga flow to help you reset, zone in, and check all the things off your to-do list.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shoddana Pranayama)
Start your practice in a comfortable seated position, and begin with some alternate nostril breathing.
Nadi shoddana pranayama increases mental clarity, reduces anxiety and stress, and even refreshes your nervous system. This will set a nice, solid intention for a focused and incredibly centered yoga flow.
2. Easy Pose Meditation (Sukhasana)
Next, take a few minutes to meditate in sukhasana. Close your eyes, and place your hands gently on your knees in "om" mudra.
Think about all the things that you'd like to get done, and reflect on what's distracting you from achieving your goals. Inhale deeply and expansively, and let out a slow, long, drawn-out exhale.
3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
After you've finished your meditation, open your eyes and begin to slowly rise into a stable and sturdy mountain pose.
Ground your feet into the earth beneath you, and bring your hands to heart center in prayer. Feel your thumbs connect to your heart space, and prepare to bring some movement and heat into your flow.
4. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
Begin flowing through sun salutations, linking each movement with each of your inhales and exhales.
The fluid movements in surya namaskar will clear your mind of any unnecessary chatter and bring your attention to nothing but the sound of your deep ujjayi breathing.
5. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
After you've completed three rounds of sun salutations, make your way into a strong and rooted warrior I.
Direct your attention to the front of your mat, and make sure that your legs are stable and your hips are squared. Stay with your long, even breaths as you sink a bit deeper into the asana.
6. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Shift your weight outward into a powerful warrior II pose as you focus your gaze toward your outstretched fingers.
Maintain a steady focal point and fierce energy. Envision yourself as a passionate goddess warrior in this grounded asana.
7. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
From your previous pose, gently raise your back leg into warrior III, finding a non-moving object to fix your attention on, and bringing your hand to heart center as you balance.
Flex your raised foot, and remember to breathe deeply and with control throughout this balancing pose.
8. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Slowly bring your raised leg forward and settle into a twisted and focused eagle pose. Breathe deeply as you wrap your arms and legs into an attentive garudasana.
If you don't get this transition seamlessly on the first try, don't worry. Simply try again, and remember not to take your practice too seriously. As my favorite yogi Adriene Mishler likes to say, it's all about finding what feels good.
9. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Unravel yourself from eagle pose, and immediately transition into utkatasana. Pretend that you're literally sitting back into an imaginary chair as your raise your chest higher. Keep your arms strong and steady.
Make sure that you can see your toes peeking out beneath your knees, and stay here for about five deep breaths.
10. Crow Pose (Bakasana)
Take a vinyasa, and then repeat the sequence from warrior I to chair Pose on the opposite side of your body to balance out your movements.
After you return to chair pose once again, begin to bring your hands down toward the mat so that you can attempt to balance in crow pose. Keep in mind, bakasana requires a lot of focus and strength, and you'll be sweating and fatigued before you know it (in the best way)! Don't beat yourself up if you can't quite get fully into crow pose; it's all about building strength and focus here. Trust me, you'll get there one day.
11. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
After you're done practicing bakasana, come to a seated position on your mat with your legs directly stretched out in front of you.
Begin to steadily fold forward, keeping a flat back as you do so, and rest your upper body onto your thighs in paschimottanasana. Only take this asana as far as your body allows, never pushing or forcing anything that doesn't feel comfortable.
12. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Softly make your way onto your back for a gentle twist before you close your practice.
Make sure to practice supta matsyendrasana on both sides of your body to lengthen the entirety of your spine and soothe your sacrum. Close your eyes and gaze over your opposite shoulder, as long as that feels OK for your head and neck.
13. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Relax into a luxurious and comfortable savasana, taking time to reflect on the centered state of mind and focus that you built throughout your attentive flow.
Release any additional tension that you might be holding onto in your body, and let your breathing return to normal, simply allowing the inhales and exhales to ebb and flow.
Ready to get sh*t done?