We all know about the amazing health benefits of Yoga, but the greatest thing amongst all is that Yoga works on changing our internal make-up. According to a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, practicing yoga daily for 20 minutes can improve brain function and actually focus better on the task at hand. In the study, 30 people performed two tasks involving identifying shapes on a computer screen, and found that yoga helped the subjects perform better in comparison to aerobic exercises or no exercise at all. Yoga helped improve concentration and focus by calming the mind and getting rid of distracting thoughts.
Here are 5 easy yet effective yoga asanas you need to try to boost concentration and jump start your brain:
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Swami Kriyananda explains Tadasana as the most important yoga posture in his book, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga. It is the base from which all the poses emerge and is referred to as the ‘mother of asanas’. According to Yogi Anoop from the Chaitanya Foundation, Mediyoga, “If the levels of oxygen in the brain are reduced, it results in poor concentration. Tadasana increases the levels of oxygen in the spinal cord and frontal part of the brain.” Franny Chandra, Yoga Instructor at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi says, “Tadasana strengthens your nervous system, helps to create space within the body and allows the internal organs to work more efficiently. In addition, it improves concentration and boosts energy.”
2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
“Vrikshasana is one of the simplest asanas, and yet it is also one of the most beneficial ones,” says Nishi, a Delhi-based Yogi. “Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) helps improve balance, gives your body a proper posture and boosts concentration,” says Shaili Singh, who holds a Master's Degree in Yoga & Science of Living. Over time it builds tremendous inner and outer strength.
3. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Shaili Singh says, "While doing Savasana, you're relaxed but in a state of awareness. You're aware of your breath, the different parts of your body and even the tingling sensation that runs through your fingers while you lie there." Yogi Anoop says, “To boost concentration, you only need to practice savasana for 10 minutes.” It helps you reboot and feel alive.
4. Padmasana (Lotus Pose): Padmasana is a cross-legged yoga posture which helps deepen meditation by calming the mind. If you are a beginner, try counting from 200 to 1 slowly, without making any mistake. If you make even one mistake, start from the beginning. This will help you channelize your thoughts in a single direction, thus improving concentration.
5. Bhramari Pranayama: Dr. Balaram Pradan, who has completed his PhD on the "ability of yoga to increase concentration", links concentration with academic achievement of healthy teenagers. According to him, Bhramari Pranayama is a great way to boost attention. It helps in calming the mind, reducing anxiety and rage. While exhaling, make the typical humming sound of a bee, which explains the alternate connotation "Bee Breath".