Have you ever been in a yoga class and just as the instructor tells everyone to wind down and lie on the mat to clear their mind your brain goes into hyperdrive? While everyone is concentrating on the Savasana, can you only think about which assignment you need to start working on or what you will wear to the party this weekend?
There is no need to worry because it happens to the best of us. The mind often begins racing when we are stressed and there are a few ways to relax the brain and only focus on the instructions given out by the teacher.
Cover Your Eyes
Use a sleeping mask or eye bags to cover your eyes. Gentle pressure on the eyelids helps calm you down and drops the eyes into the sockets. This initiates a relaxing response from the rest of the body. The darkness also slows down the nervous system and since there is no light entering the eyes there is less information to be processed by the brain.
Plug Your Ears
You can also try plugging your ears to block out all sounds that can often be distracting. If the teacher talking through the process of relaxing yourself only disturbs you further, then use some earplugs or wrap a towel around your head. When there is no outside stimulation you can empty your mind, and feel like you are swaddled in your safe place. But do not cover your ears if you have already covered your eyes.
Become Aware of Your Body
Be alert to each and every movement you make and become aware of all the parts of your body. Start with the feet and focus on how they feel when you move them slightly. Then relax the nether regions and work your way up little by little. Feel each body part and imagine the blood rushing through it. This will help you completely relax and once you reach the head your mind will be completely clear.
Focus on Breathing
It is believed that regulating your breath is the key to calming the mind. Since deep breathing involves the diaphragm and compresses the lower organs as well it induces a relaxed response. Allow yourself to inhale and exhale longer than usual and continue both for the same length of time. Practice this for 5 to 10 seconds and then increase the length by 1 count and repeat. Feel the air moving down into your lungs but do not overdo it and put a strain on yourself. Only focus on the air flowing in and out of you as you continue breathing.
( Get a few cute yoga leggings to wear as you practice.)
Imagine a Clear Blue Sky
Try to imagine a clear blue sky with clouds rolling in. The sky represents the essence of the mind which should be clear and calm. The clouds are the thoughts and as they pass by, focus on the blue sky in between. Once your mind is filled with nothing but the sky you will feel much more relaxed and clear-minded.