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5 yoga poses to help you focus better

By Sabrina Merchant
January 13, 2020 09:03 IST

Yoga expert Sabrina Merchant shows you how to use yoga to improve your mindfulness so you can focus better and reduce stress.

Mindfulness is an essential aspect of yoga where one is trained to focus on what is happening in the present moment.

Focus, concentration and balance can be difficult for some.

Practising yoga helps to quite the mind and achieve higher levels of awareness.

It not only enhances these skills but also makes the body flexible, improves immunity and builds confidence

These five yoga postures can help improve concentration, manage stress and relax.

All photographs: Sabrina Merchant

1. Vrikshasana

Vrikshasana

This posture replicates the graceful, steady stance of a tree.

How to do it

Begin with the Mountain Pose. Stand with your back erect, chin parallel to the ground, hands close to your body and feet shoulder width apart,with hands together.

Find a focus point with your eyes.

When you are ready, shift your weight to the left foot and turn your right knee out to the side.

Rest your right heel on the left ankle, keeping your toes on the floor.

If you are feeling balanced, try lifting your right foot up to rest on the inside of your calf, or bring your foot up all the way to press into your inner thigh.

Slowly lift your arms like growing branches by reaching up to the sky. You can either join your hands together over the head or keep them apart.

Balance here for three to ten slow, deep breaths or for as long as you are able to.

2. Natarajasana

Natarajasana

Also known as the dancer's pose.

The name 'Natarajasana' comes from the Sanskrit words nata meaning 'dancer', raja meaning 'king', and asana meaning 'posture' or 'seat.' 

How to do it

Begin with standing with feet together and torso straight.

Inhale and bend the left leg backward grasping the left foot with your left hand while simultaneously extending the right arm straight out in front.

Hold this pose for a couple of breaths.

Gently release your leg, and return your hands to your sides.

Repeat on your opposite side.

3. Virabhadrasana

Virabhadrasana

This posture is also known as the warrior pose, to make it easier for beginners below are instructions to a variation of this posture that is also similar to that of an aeroplane pose.

How to do it

Begin with finding a focus point with your eyes, feet together, back straight and chin parallel to the ground.

Extend your arms like airplane wings (either in front or on the sides) and shift your weight to your right foot. Inhale to get tall and stretch out your arms wide.

Gently lift your left leg behind you. Keep your back toe on or close to the floor if you need help balancing.

Bend forward at your hips and look ahead at your focus point. Can you keep the plane steady as you breathe in and out for three to five breaths?

Bring your left foot gently back down to earth. Return to start pose. Switch sides and repeat.

4. Naukasana

Naukasana

Naukasana comes from the two Sanskrit words 'nauka' which means 'boat' and 'asana' meaning 'posture' or 'seat'.

How to do it

Sit on the floor with feet flat and knees bent. Hands on the floor.

Engage tummy muscles to sit up tall.

Lift one foot off the floor and then the other.

Now slowly extend your arms straight out alongside your knees.

Be strong and breath in and out, making sure your boat doesn’t tip over.

5. Talasana

Talasana

This pose is also described as a Palm Tree pose and helps in upward stretch of the whole body. It is done by balancing on your toes.

How to do it

Stand erect with hands at their respective sides with feet slightly apart and parallel to each.

Keep the neck straight, chest thrown well forward, and chin parallel to the ground.

Focusing at a point straight ahead, raise both your arm for a full upward stretch to reach a verticals position.

Simultaneously, raise both your heels, to achieve maximum stretch to the body.

After holding for 6-10 second, turn your palm position outward, keeping the arm straight, bring it down through a backward and downward circuit.

Simultaneously lower the heels to resume the starting position.

Practising yoga on a regular basis helps refreshes the mind and body so we can think clearly and reduce stress.


Sabrina Merchant is a certified kids yoga expert and founder of Li’l Yogis.  She has authored the book Ocean Yoga which introduces yoga to children through a story. Sabrina can be contacted on ga@rediff-inc.com.


Sabrina Merchant
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