Juniper Glass, Yasodhara Yoga Montreal, offers the February Teaching Theme – Focus. She writes: “To me the cold of winter is a support to going inward and thinking more deeply about purpose. There are usually fewer distractions than during the warm seasons, which also helps with concentration.”
“Success in all walks of life is the result of the power of concentration. The Mantra of the Light is very suitable to increase concentration because it puts the practitioner in contact with Energy in a symbolic way.” (Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p75)
Throughout this month, take time to repeat the Divine Light Mantra 25 times. After each repetition, reflect on your experience. Then at the end of February, read over your writing: what did you learn about your ability to concentrate? How does the Light affect your mind? How do you understand the connection between light and energy?
Concentrate on Feeling the Light
In the Divine Light Invocation, one of the objects of focus is the sense of feeling. Practice the Divine Light Invocation three times, placing special attention on this part: “Concentrate on feeling a warm glow of light suffuse your entire body”. Take notes on your experience after each repetition. What is the quality of your concentration? How do you experience the feeling of the Light?
About the practice of Mountain pose, Swami Radha said, “It will become quite evident that the mind is not willing, able or in the mood to CONCENTRATE. Several phases are involved. The mind is like a central station where everything pours in that the senses perceive, and it has to make interpretations from those perceptions. Tadasana, standing still, when repeatedly practiced with observations on the body AND the mind, will bring many insights.” (Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language, p31)Stand in the Mountain pose and observe your body. Observe your mind. Write down the facts of your observations.
Do the Mountain pose again. Focus your eyes on a point in front of you at eye level. While looking forward, become aware of your peripheral vision. Maintain this focus on the point in front of you as well as the periphery. Reflect on your experience.
Do the Mountain pose a third time. Say to yourself, “Standing still, not running somewhere. Standing still, looking–without, within”. Write down your reflections.
Breath and Relaxation
In Swami Radha’s Relaxation exercise, she asks us to inhale and exhale evenly and to maintain a gentle focus on the breath throughout the practice.Listen to the recording of the Relaxation exercise. Do your best to follow Swami Radha’s instruction to “watch the breath and listen while the words guide you” throughout the entire relaxation practice. Reflect afterwards on your experience. How does breath interact with your power of concentration?
Focus on the Divine
“When you focus on the Divine, it is easy to let go of whether other people like you or not. You are caught in the net of Divine Love, which is the safest place you can be.” (Mantra Initiation, Swami Radha, p16)Choose an image of the Divine that inspires you (Krishna, Siva, Mother Mary, Kuan Yin, Tara, Buddha, Radha, Saraswati…) Recite a mantra to this deity or practice likhita japa (writing the name of the deity) for 10 minutes. Take notes in your journal on your experience.
“I think the purpose of life is to come to the full realization of one’s spiritual potential.” (Mantra Initiation, Swami Radha, p15)Chant OM three times, then holding this quote in your mind, write for 5 minutes without stopping. After writing, reread your reflection and underline key phrases.
Then Chant OM three times and write for another 5 minutes without stopping, reflecting on the phrases you underlined.
Chant OM three times. Complete the sentence for yourself: “The purpose of my life is…”