7 Yoga Poses To Boost Memory
Keen to boost your memory and overall cognitive performance the natural way? How does improving memory recall and mental sharpness by practicing the well-known spiritual practice that has been around for over 5000 years?
That’s right – yoga has its brain-boosting benefits as well as stress relief for the body and mind. The 7 following yoga practices have been proven by professional instructions all around the globe to bring positive benefits to brain function by lowering anxiety, promoting better blood circulation and better breathing techniques. These yoga poses is suitable for beginners as well as more advanced yogis and should be practiced every day for optimal results.
1. Cobra Pose
The basic cobra pose, or otherwise known as Bhujangasana, has been tailored specifically to stretch your back and strengthen the spine. Although it appears as a simple movement, all yoga instructors will tell you that in order to complete the pose properly, a great amount of mental focus as well as physical awareness is needed. Taking long breaths and tightening your core in this position send a great amount of oxygenated blood flow sent to the brain, which in turn improves clarity and alertness. Holding the cobra pose for 10 seconds or more can almost instantaneously reduce stress and anxiety, which promotes better memory formation and recall.
How-to: Lie belly down on a mat. Your palms should be flat on the ground and fingers facing away from your body. Place your hands firmly below the shoulders and lift your head and torso upward while keeping your hips in position. Look straight above and feel the stretch down your spine and neck. Hold the position for 30 seconds and release slowly to the ground. Repeat 3-4 times.
2. Shoulder Stand Pose
The shoulder stand pose appears a bit more challenging but it should in no way scare you off. The picture above shows you a supported shoulder stand pose, which is typically more appropriate for beginners. This inverted position increases blood circulation to the brain and in turn promotes higher mental clarity, reduced brain fog and improved neuron function – which is essential for memory formation.
This inversion pose (in fact any inversion pose!) is also tightly correlated with improved metabolism and immune system strength. The shoulder stand pose signals for increased white blood cell production, which helps ward off any sickness you may have.
How-to: There are a few steps that you can take to get into the shoulder stand pose more comfortably. Begin by lying back down on a mat. Bend your knees and keep your arms on either side. Then lift your feet up toward the ceiling and breathe until you feel snug. When ready, allow your legs to fall back further along. Desirably your thighs should be almost parallel to your torso but you should only let them fall back to a point when your neck feels completely comfortable and not strained. If you’re comfortable, let your legs fall back even further so that they reach the mat behind your head. Use your arms to support your lower back. Bring your knees to your head and keep taking low slow breaths. Once you feel ready, push your legs up toward the ceiling again, this time without lowering your lower back. Take 3 long breaths and return to initial position one vertebrae at a time.
3. Tree-Stand Pose
This simple, rejuvenating pose brings your balancing skills to the test, all while stretching the thighs, chest and back. Breathing in this position brings about a deeper sense of relaxation and focus. A quiet mind and a strong body will help you relax and prepare for a stressful day ahead.
How-to: Stand with feet flat on the mat/floor. Bend your right leg at the knee and rest your foot on your left inner thigh so that it is comfortable. If you cannot go as far as reaching the inner thigh, don’t worry. Remember to always do what feels good. Once your foot is rested comfortably, stretch your arms above your head and bring them together to form a prayer position, as shown above. Feel the stretch in your inner thigh, leg, back and arms. Take 5 long breaths and release slowly into starting position. Repeat once more while bending your other leg.
4. Thunderbolt Pose
The thunderbolt pose doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary but it’s definitely not the average Joe’s go-to seating position. The thunderbolt position helps you be more aware of your physical state by bringing you into focus and promoting a sense of concentration. With yoga, you should always pay attention to your breath and your body. By lowering stress levels and promoting a sense of zen, your mind releases all the bad and is ready to function at its best capacity. Memory requires a lot of concentration and brainpower, which is why we recommend doing the stress-relieving thunderbolt pose.
How-to: Kneel on the mat/floor. Before getting into position, make sure your feet are directly beneath your bum and your ankles parallel to your knees. Sit down on your feet comfortably. Keep your back completely straight and rest your hands on your thighs. Take a deep breath and face directly forward. Feel the stretch on your chin, back, and thighs. Breathe 5 times. Repeat pose 2-3 times.
5. Pranayama Breathing Pose
The Pranayama breathing technique allows your mind and body to connect and reach a deeper, more relaxed state. Some yogis argue that pranayama is best for the expansion of energy and to promote vitality, but the way by which this pose improves autonomic functions in the body can reduce stress and mental strains. A calmer, more in-tuned mind is the first step you need towards higher brainpower and improved memory recall.
Pranayama breathing improves brain function by opening up the capillaries and improving blood circulation throughout the entire nervous system. The pranayama breathing technique practices alternating nostril breathing, which stimulates both hemispheres of the brain and promotes increased awareness.
How-to: Sit comfortably on the floor/mat. Desirably you should be in a cross-legged position/the easy pose. Keep your head straight and close your eyes. Use your thumb to cover your right nostril. Take a deep breath using your left nostril. Cover your left nostril with your ring and middle finger. Let go of the thumb and release breath through your right nostril. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
6. Open-Legged Forward Bend Pose
Yoga instructors suggest that by bending down and being in this inverted position, an increased flow of blood reaches your brain and promotes clearer thinking. From a scientific standpoint, your brain cells need to have a good supply of oxygenated blood flow in order to function at an optimal level.
How-to: Stand straight on the floor/mat. Spread your legs apart around 3-4 feet from starting position. Your inner feet should be parallel with each other, toes should slightly be facing inward. Place your hands on your hips and take in a deep breath. Make sure your stomach is tight, your shoulder straight and thigh muscles locked in. Exhale while bending down, and as your torso is perpendicular to your thighs extend your arms down and try to place them firmly on the floor. If you can’t reach comfortably then place them on your inner calves. Hold the position for 3-4 breaths and release slowly into starting position one vertebrae at a time.
7. Supta Virasana Reclining Pose
This pose is more appropriate for those who have practiced intermediate to advanced yoga. The reclining hero pose is an excellent restorative pose that can be used to help relieve headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia and poor concentration. While stretching your abdomen muscles, thighs, and knees, this pose also induces calmness and relaxation to both the mind and body.
How-to: Sit comfortably in the thunderbolt position described in pose #4. Take a deep breath and while you exhale, extend your arms so that they reach the floor behind you. Lower your back unto the floor slowly. Use your arms and shoulders as support. You can place a supporting blanket above the upper buttocks for support if you’re not comfortably reclining all the way down to the floor.
These yoga poses can be extremely beneficial particularly when performed each day regularly for a month or more. For more instant results to brain performance, consider the use of nootropics or cognitive-boosting supplements. To learn more about nootropic’s powerful benefits, click here