Can’t locate your bike in the parking lot? Or recall where you kept your earrings? Feeling scatterbrained? You’re not alone. As we get older our brains become noisier and not so good at registering new information. The more you use and test your brain, the better it will perform. Playing brain games like Sudoku can help keep it sharp to an extent but for the overall health and wellbeing of our brain you need to exercise, just like our body needs as we grow older. There is a number of yoga asanas that are designed to boost our memory, improve our concentration and focus. Plus, practicing these asanas can prevent the onset of age-related degenerative brain disorders.
Bhramari pranayama (bee breathing)
How to do: Sit cross-legged and put your index fingers into your ears on the cartilage between your ear and your cheek. Inhale deeply and make a loud humming bee-like sound as you exhale, while pressing down gently into the cartilage. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Benefits: This is the best method to achieve a concentration of mind. It opens the blockage and gives a feeling of happiness to mind and brain. The humming sound and vibrations help calm and soothe your mind helping you remove stress and fatigue and negative emotions.
Padmasana (lotus pose)
How to do: Get into a seated position and sit cross-legged, by placing your right foot onto your left thigh and your left foot onto your right thigh, with the soles of your feet pointing upwards. Keep your hands in a mudra position, with your index finger and thumb together and extend the rest of your fingers downwards. Inhale deeply and exhale.
Benefits: With this asana you can truly experience the relaxing benefits it can offer to your mind and body. This relaxed posture helps remove tension and fatigue in your body. The more your body relieves itself of stress the more your brain is able to rejuvenate itself.
Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
How to do: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, with the top of your thighs pressed into the floor as far as you can. Breathe in as you lean forward from your hips and extend your arms and reach as far forward as you can. Then exhale when you’ve stretched out completely. Place on your hands on the sides or on the soles of your feet, depending on how far you can stretch forward.
Benefit: This asana not only helps your spine to stretch, it also relieves your lower back from strain. The forward bend motion also ends up relieving your mind from stress, calms it down and boosts blood supply.
Nadisuddhi pranayama (channel cleaning breath)
How to do: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and exhale deeply. Keep your right nostril closed with your thumb and breathe in from the left one. Then hold both your nostrils closed for a couple of seconds before you open your right nostril and keep the left one closed while breathing out from it. Repeat the process, but this time begin with your right nostril that is already open.
Benefits: We mostly spend our time indoors; breathing fresh air can do wonders for your brain, as it provides your brain with an extra dose of oxygen. It helps lower heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety.
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