“ The deeper you go the higher you fly”
Qi Gong Master on the value of yin nourishment

Focus is the ability to move through situations and tasks with ease and clarity, in a fast paced, active society filled with images and sounds that compete for our attention.

If the last twenty years, with the introduction of Internet Pop up ads, cell phones, blinking text -filled highway signs and car and appliance “reminder” noises, is any indication of the future, then achieving a clear focus is only going to become more difficult. While there’s no way, short of moving in with the Amish folks, to stop the movement of society, the way we choose to take care of ourselves influences the way in which we interact with the world around us.

“If you want to nourish your mind take care of the vessel that it is a part of,” states Roger Walco a Doctor of Medical Qi Gong in Los Angeles. We’d all like to think of the mind as a separate entity, but making simple changes to our current habits and taking time to seek clarity can make a vast difference in the minds ability to focus. Although it may seem impossible at times, there are various approaches we can take to keep our bodies healthy and our brains in tune with our environment.

Holistic Approaches:

Aerobic exercise: 15 minutes every other day can make a world of difference. The deep breathing will help the blood flow through the body and increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. The energy released will calm the nerves and promote clear thinking.

Limit sugar and caffeine intake: Both caffeine and sugar will spike the body’s energy levels, but the “spike” is actually what you want to avoid. Ideally, what you want is consistent brain wave activity to help you move in a clear, consistent manner.

If cutting sugar and caffeine doesn’t do the trick the following vitamin and herbal supplements can help get you back on track:

From an eastern medical point of view, lack of focus often comes from a lack of yin nourishment of the mind or “shen.” This lack of nourishment of the yin aspect inhibits the body from providing the space to hold the yang power that single pointed focus requires. In essence the yin or calm promotes our ability to control or focus our minds.

Yin calm:

Start the meditation session with 20 or so deep breaths from the abdomen. Deep Abdominal breathing will energize the lower "dantian" (area below naval where Qi is stored), and is conducive to relaxing the whole body by enhancing the circulation of blood.

With your back straight, place your attention on the abdomen. This concentration will allow the breath to flow a little easier. The posture naturally shifts the body's center to a lower position making the body's equilibrium more stable.

If it is difficult for you to breathe abdominally, it is more important to focus upon the lower "dantian," doing so will enable you to gradually shift from thoracic to abdominal breathing. In either case, the breathing should always be slow, even and natural, since irregularity of the breath will disrupt the natural flow of Qi.

Earth Yin Meditation:

Enter into a calm grounded state of mind by visualizing yourself as a tree.

Picture your feet melting into the earth

Imagine energy moving down from your head through your branches, trunk, and continuing into your roots, feeding the earth.

Then, imagine the earth responding by sending its grounded energy back through your roots.

Yang meditation:

From a seated position with either your feet or your posterior touching the earth, pick an object approximately five feet in front of you and bring your focus to that object. Focus with the mind as well as the eyes.

See how long you can maintain your focus on the object. Inevitably your thoughts will enter and you’ll find yourself distracted. If that happens it’s okay. Let the thought go and begin again. Regular practice of this exercise really works.

Hindu Chant:

If the above meditations seem complex or too involved you may want to try the Hindu meditation of chanting; simply chant the mantra: Aham Brahmasmi - I am the creative force. Chant as little or as much as you want. The positive aspect of chanting is that you’re sending your brain a signal of change in a direction that you’ve chosen. Which, in and of itself, is a positive step. If you do the meditation regularly you may find that the mantra “runs” on its own. From an eastern perspective that’s true progress, and the vibration of the mantra will spread throughout your body and mind, so that the nature of the mantra will bring about the desired effect.

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