Finding Focus in the New Year with Yoga, Aromatherapy, and Meditation

yogamatlotusflowerThis past weekend, I attended a wonderful yoga and aromatherapy workshop. The topic was cultivating clarity, vision, creativity, and gratitude—great things to cultivate for sure.

Lately, I’ve been just a bit stuck in terms of vision and pursuing my goals. And while I haven’t been too concerned about it (the universe usually directs me eventually), I was thrilled when I saw the theme for this workshop. I knew immediately that I wanted to attend.

If you’re in the same or a similar boat, here are five things to try that will help you cultivate creativity, find clarity, and move toward your goals.

1. Set an intention, but don’t think too much about how you will get there.

Yoga teacher Jan Jeremias, one of the workshop’s two facilitators, read us a stunning passage from a book by Jeff Foster:

On every page of a book, behind the words—no matter what the words are describing, no matter what is going on in the story—there is the whiteness of the paper. Rarely noticed, even more rarely appreciated, but absolutely essential, so that the words can be seen.

As a writer, my first thought was that this passage minimized the impact of what I do, of the words that I write. But then I thought about it some more and quickly realized that while I do write (or edit) many words, my role as the whiteness of the paper is far more important. The point here is that our willingness to hold an intention may be even more significant than exactly how we go about doing whatever it is we intend to do. We can write and rewrite and edit the story. But without the white space—without the intention—the story can never be read.

So if you’re not exactly sure how to go about reaching your goal, that doesn’t mean you’re not ready to set the intention. Set it, and then be open to what unfolds. The words (the way to get there) will come.

2. Tap into the powerful benefits of aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a powerful tool for physical, mental, and spiritual transformation. In this workshop, we were introduced to several essential oils whose aromas are known to help with focus, creative energy, and vision. The two that stood out for me were peppermint, which is very uplifting and energizing, and a proprietary blend for mental clarity and focus called “In Tune.” The blend, from the company doTerra, consists of amyris bark, patchouli, frankincense, lime, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and roman chamomile. I’ll be using this at my desk often!

3. Chant a mantra for creativity.

In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, there’s a mantra for…well, just about everything. In this workshop, yoga teacher Dee Andalkar led us in chanting the mantra for creativity: Har Haray Hari Waheguru. If you don’t know it, you can hear a version of it here.

According to Spirit Voyage, this four-part mantra “represents the cycle of creative activity.  Har represents the seed potential of Infinite Creativity. Haray represents the flow of the Creative Force. Hari represents the manifestation of the Creative Force. Wahe Guru is an expression of joy and the wonder of this process.” Chanting the mantra, then, is like saying, “Idea, Flow, Here is it, Wow!”

4. Practice yoga.

I probably don’t have to elaborate on this. If you’ve done yoga even one time in your life, you probably know that setting an intention for the practice is a powerful way to focus and cultivate clarity and vision. It’s particularly powerful when the pose takes you out of yourself and connects you to something greater.

5. Be grateful.

As I said, the theme for the workshop was cultivating clarity, vision, creativity, and gratitude. So what about the “gratitude” part? While it may not always be immediately obvious, gratitude is a strong motivator for creativity. I can promise you that when you are grateful for the things you experience, you will open to more and more possibilities for creativity. For example, gratitude for the experience of attending a workshop can inspire you to write a post for your blog!

If you’re in the Northern New Jersey area, I hope you’ll consider attending a workshop with Dee and Jan as well; they’ve got a whole year of yoga and aromatherapy experiences planned. The workshops take place on the third Saturday of each month at Ma Yoga in Mahwah. The next theme up, on Saturday, February 20th from 3-5 pm, is “Living Your Most Passionate Life.”


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Maria Kuzmiak, M.A. is a health and well-being writer with a background in nutrition, psychology and education and a passion for yoga. She has written hundreds of articles, blogs and newsletters for clients in health-related fields, particularly those specializing in yoga, natural medicine, nutrition, and spiritual health and healing. Maria has also worked as a nutritionist, teacher and technical editor. Learn more about her writing at

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