Gaze on this dot to increase your concentration power


Take a piece of paper and draw a small black dot. — Demonstrated by Arunagiri Manikam Chettiar. Photos: REVATHI MURUGAPPAN/The Star

From time to time and no matter what age group we fall in, we all struggle with concentration problems.

Either we lose focus or have trouble concentrating because something is not interesting or there are too many distractions.

Or we become forgetful.

The modern world expects so much from us in so little time that we juggle too many things and end up lacking focus and being anxious.

While multitasking was the buzz words once, studies are now showing that when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks – especially when those tasks are complex and require our active attention – we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.

Multitasking impairs your best thinking because very few people have brains that can comprehend different things at once.

How then can we learn to refocus and improve concentration?

Daily meditation practice has been shown to produce measurable changes in brain regions associated with focus, memory, sense of self empathy and stress.

Research has even documented changes in the brain’s grey matter over time.

However, stilling the mind is not easy to do – it requires practise and perseverance.

Before you go into meditation, you have to try practising concentration first.

In yoga, there is a tantric technique of concentration called tratak i.e. gazing, that requires the practitioner to stare at a single point such as a small object, black or red dot, or candle flame.

Yoga instructors usually start teaching the art of gazing on the dot (bindu) first as it is easier to focus on something that is simple and doesn’t move.

Although there are no published scientific studies, authentic traditional texts of yoga describe the benefits of dot gazing meditation on a whole range of physiological and cognitive functions.

Try it out

The method is simple.

  • Take a piece of blank, white paper and draw a dot (colour it red or black) in the centre, using a five or 10 sen coin. For beginners, you want to draw a bigger dot to make it easy to focus. Once you get better, the dot size should decrease to less than 1cm radius. Eventually, it will be a single dot made by a ball pen.
  • Find a quiet place with good lighting so you don’t have to strain your eyes.
  • Use a tape and stick the paper on a wall, an arm’s length away.
  • Sit comfortably (you don’t necessarily need to sit cross-legged on the floor) with your back erect and eyes relaxed – don’t squint, force or widen your eyes.
  • Make sure the dot is at eye-level, at the point between both eyebrows.
  • Close the eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax for a few minutes.
  • Open your eyes and gaze at the dot without blinking or moving your eyeballs – stay centred.
  • When your eyes begin to tire or tear up, and you can no longer keep them open, close them and gaze at the after-image that appears in your mind.
  • When the after-image ceases, open the eyes and repeat the process.
  • Start with five minutes and build up slowly to a maximum of 15 minutes.
  • Once you’re done, splash your face and eyes with cool water.

The benefits of bindu tratak are plentiful and ranges from decreasing and eventually removing all thoughts; having clearer and brighter eyes; balancing the nervous system; improving memory and concentration; alleviating insomnia; and if you’re a spiritual person, activating your third eye chakra.

Even children can do this and score better grades in their exams.

Personally, I find that after spending hours working in front of the computer screen, this method is cleansing and refreshing for my eyes.

In addition to being soothing, shedding tears releases the feel-good hormones oxytocin and endorphins.

Bindu tratak is not a fast fix and it may take weeks or months before you see benefits – just be patient and consistent.

Perhaps consider starting with three days a week or only on weekends.

There is no best time to do this – morning or evening, anytime is good.

Give it a go and pretty soon, you’ll be on your way to a deeper meditation practice.

Sit an arm’s length away from the wall with your back comfortably erect.Sit an arm’s length away from the wall with your back comfortably erect.

Final position: Place the paper in front of you, at eye level, and gaze at the dot.Final position: Place the paper in front of you, at eye level, and gaze at the dot.

Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to battle gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and nourish her soul. For more information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Bindu Tratak , Gazing , Dot , Concentration , Meditation

   

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