“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”- Aristotle

Awareness

It comes and goes in waves. Focus. A word that is beautifully placed on my bedroom wall. I repeat this often as if this is the only mantra, the one that keeps calling my name. When we are focused, we are in the flow. We are one with our path. All of our energy is put into that one thing. We are totally focused. Well… easier said than done. 

Did you ever meet someone and wonder how they get so much done? It’s not that they have more hours in the day; but they are able to redirect their energy to something which creates movement. And movement creates change, especially when combined with a whole lot of passion, presence and faith. Sometimes though, to get moving, we have to turn everything off.

Explore: Hocus Pocus- Turn Everything Off


Movement

Sukhasana (soo-KAHS-uh-nuh) – Easy Seat

The movement for FOCUS is actually stillness. We can practice this in an “easy” seat, which turns out, is not so easy, especially if you never come to the ground to have a seat. When practiced for a while, sitting in easy seat can calm not only your mind, but also your body. The practice of sitting tall engages your core and your back while stretching your hips. Also, when you take a tall seat you are energetically opening your chakras from your root to your crown.

Easy Seat Pose is a basic seated yoga posture. Its name comes from two Sanskrit words: “Sukha” — meaning “easy,” “comfortable,” or “joy” (from “su,” meaning “good,” and “kha,” meaning “space”) “Asana” — meaning “pose”. It is depicted in some of the oldest images of ancient yogis in India, some of which are at least 2,000 years old. Sometimes called “Simple Cross-Legged Pose,” Sukhasana is intended to be comfortable and calming.

  • Calms the brain
  • Strengthens the back
  • Stretches the knees and ankles

– Benefits (from yogajournal.com)

Directions:

1. Sit on the edge of a firm blanket, bolster, block or on a flat surface. Extend your legs in front of your body and sit up straight in Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana). Then, cross your legs in front of you at the shins.

2. With your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Fold your legs in toward your torso.

3. Place your hands on your knees, palms down to feel grounded, palms up to be open and receive.

4. Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine.

5. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs.

6. Gaze straight ahead with soft eyes.

7. Hold for up to one minute or for the duration of your meditation or pranayama (breathing) practice.

8. Release and change the cross of your legs.

Modifications:

• Sit on a block or bolster to lift hips above your knees. 

• For more back support, sit with your back against a wall  with a yoga block between the wall and your shoulder blades.


Nutrition

Currently, as I am writing you, I am on a plane to LA. I have to be up here a few more hours and my intention is to focus on this chapter on FOCUS. How perfect.  I knew that if I was locked up in a seat amongst the clouds, I would really be able to get this chapter done – no distractions!

So in order to keep my mind and body sharp for all the writing I was doing, I choose my snacks very carefully. This can make or break a well intended writing session. Take coffee, for instance. As much as I love it in the morning, this is not something I can drink on a 6 hour flight where I am tasked to sit still. 

My snack choices to get me through the flight and my writing session were …

  • Organic cashews & almonds 
  • Organic (rainbow colored) carrots- skin on, but washed (so important); all kinds of nutrients are rooted on the outside.
  • Organic celery, my new best veggie friend, which helped my digestion more than words can say. More on that in “Balance” on page …. 
  • And of course, a little organic chocolate. (As I am back to edit this chapter, in Boston this time, I am sipping Dark Hot Chocolate that is out of this world. I really think we are onto something with this Chocolate. Yes, your Health Coach is telling you to add in that dark chocolate in moderation, as with everything.)

(Back to the LA flight) Once I was fueled up, (repeating every 30 minutes or so) with my headphones playing classical music, which always brings me into deep focus, I was off and writing again after months of scattering my energy all kinds of places. Today, I write to you my friend with the clear intention to help get you focused, too. How wonderful that we are in this together!

More foods for your mood: 

Yes, food can actually stimulate the brain and make us physically happy too! The key is, when you feel you need a pick-me-up, don’t go for the sugars and fried foods that you might crave. They will bring you even lower on the crash.  If you focus on getting the essential ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan, vitamin D, or B , you will have a natural and sustaining boost in your mood!!

Here are some foods that can boost your mood and help keep you focused. But remember, we are all different from our head to our yogi-toes, so play around and do what makes the most sense for you.

  • Spinach 
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Milk/Non-Dairy Milk
  • Salmon
  • Beans
  • Chocolate
  • Whole Grains
  • Bananas
  • Tea

Drinking caffeinated black, green or oolong tea may elicit a more alert state of mind, says a study in The Journal of Nutrition. Researchers think theanine, an amino acid present in these tea varieties, may work synergistically with caffeine to improve attention and focus. To reap the benefits, the study’s results suggest drinking 5 to 6 (8-ounce) cups of tea daily.

Additional Food for Thought:

Listen to your gut, literally. Pay attention to the foods you eat and how they affect your mood. Once you identify the foods that help keep you energized, focused and living the life you love, then practice everyday getting as many of these in as you can. 

For a resource to track your food and your mood, refer back to Spiraling to Wellness Layer 1, Clarity, Food and Mood Journal.

Mantra:

I am focused

+ Spiraling Tools

Playlist: NS Focus

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