Every now and then, parents come and ask me how to improve concentration and memory in their kids. Most of the schools or educational institutions complain that children are not able to focus and concentrate. Children nowadays have become more distracted than ever is the complaint made by most parents. Many of them are searching for a magic path to improve the concentration and memory of their kids.
What is concentration?
In Yoga, our mind is always referred to as a lake. And our minds get disturbed by the waves created by thoughts. So if we have to define Concentration then it’s the ability to direct our attention in accordance to our will. To concentrate on anything first we have to calm our mind without any ripples or waves. So to improve our concentration and memory it is very important to have a calm mind.
Why do we have to concentrate?
The next question that arises in our mind is why do we have to concentrate? Do you know most of the mistakes we commit in day to day life are due to lack of concentration and awareness. We need to have a concentration in all aspects of life from putting thread inside the needle head, to driving on a busy road.
Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on the roads around the world. Almost 3,700 people are killed globally in road traffic crashes. Aren’t these accidents because of the lack of concentration?
How to improve concentration through YOGA?
As we saw in the above section, it’s easy to concentrate if our mind is calm. So let’s learn how to make our mind more calm and peaceful. Yoga has a lot of methods to bring yourself to the center and improve concentration.
According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Trataka is defined as “looking intently at a small point with steady gaze until tears are shed”. This simple method has a purifying effect on the mind and improves concentration. Since it is one of the shat kriyas, trataka also helps in cleansing eyes.
In this process your gaze on any object but most commonly used is the flame of a candle. To begin, select a meditative posture of your comfort with your head, neck, and trunk straight. Then set the candle 2 feet in front of you with the flame positioned at the eye level.
Now open your eyes slightly more than usual and start gazing at the center of the flame. Maintain your gaze without blinking or blurring the vision. Continue this as long as possible. This will help you to reduce the number of thoughts in mind and slowly make your mind calm.
Yoga Nidra is the best method that gives total rest to our mind, body, and our nervous system. In Yoga Nidra, we rotate our consciousness through each and every part of the body. As our consciousness moves through different parts our entire body will be relaxed.
Then slowly we move awareness to our breath and relax completely. With this process both mind and body get relaxed.
Below are the steps involved in Yoga Nidra (Read complete article on Yoga Nidra here)
- Rotation of consciousness.
- Breath Awareness
- Opposite feelings and sensation
- End of practice
Meditation is a process of resting the mind and attaining the state where our state of consciousness is totally inward. In the state of meditation relaxed and clear.
The goal of meditation is to go beyond the physical and mental experiences and attain a state of absolute happiness and peace.
But you might be wondering how it will help in improving concentration. Once the mind becomes calm and free from all distractions then the mind will concentrate involuntarily on anything you wish to focus on.
One thing that we have completely misunderstood is the concept of multitasking. Multi-tasking is a myth. At any given moment of time we can’t focus on two things, our mind can’t process 2 tasks at once. So if you want to improve your concentration then take one task at a time.
You might have 10 things to do in your bucket. A simple trick is to write down 10 things on a paper and take one thing which has higher priority and finish. While you are doing your first job do not think of other jobs. This trick will help you to finish the task faster and with utmost perfection.
How to improve concentration in Kids.
This has been a major challenge in the present generation of parents. They all have one complaint that their children do not focus on anything. And some of them take them to the doctor in the name of hyperactiveness. If your children are active then you have to be happy, because they have high energy, as a parent you should know how to channelize that energy in a proper direction.
Since this has been the age of technology, our children do not have enough physical exercise so their energy is consumed properly. If your children are hyperactive then take them to the outside fields and allow them to play outdoor sports as much as possible. This has 2 benefits
- They will gain physical strength
- Mental Stability.
So, if you want your children to improve their focus and attention then it’s very important to balance their energy level. Once they have stability in their physical energy level automatically they will stabilize at the mind level which in turn helps them to an on one thing.
My teacher always says that concentration is nothing but continued attention. To improve our ability to work attentively on one thing our mind should be calm and peaceful. So, to improve our concentration we have to learn how to calm our minds. And yoga is one of the ultimate tools to understand how the mind works and keep it calm. By using the techniques mentioned above one can easily learn how to calm their mind and achieve a peaceful state of mind. If you succeed in maintaining a calm state of mind then you can concentrate on anything you wish.