By Clare Newman, Program Director of Mamata Yoga

*Stay tuned over the next several weeks as we continue to explore the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  If you missed last week, we explored pratyahara*

6. Dharana (Concentration)

The primary stage of concentration of the mind is known as Dharana. The focus for new mothers need not be to attain a state where all mental movements stops, rather allowing the mind to essentially ‘become one’ with the nature of an object or a present moment. Being fully immersed and involved in the present actions of a baby is one of the most incredible forms of pleasurable concentration, without actually being aware or attached to the mental outcome. Watching a baby discover their hands for the first time in complete and total awe of their creation and movements and being aware that they themselves control those exact movements is incredible to watch. The fundamental blessing that is bestowed on parents today is that through parenting we can learn to appreciate the many simple things in life we take for granted. Fear and boredom are said to destroy concentration as fear results in high expectations and greater chances of failure and boredom results in lower expectations and greater chances of inaction. It is important for new mothers and parents to reduce the perceptions and expectations perceived by the mind and to focus on the present moment of being attentive in all aspects of the baby. Watch. Listen. Learn. Settle into the present moment with ease, whether it is watching your baby roll for the first time or focus on an object with wonder or inspiring your baby with new food choices, concentrate on the sensation that something is new, for the first time. For new mothers, this release will reduce strain on the mind, increase mental strength and the need to control rather than to be present will dissipate.