Improving Memory and Concentration with Yoga
Memory is critical to our
daily lives. Memory is the
capacity to retain information about past events, and
helps us plan future events. We should be aware of how our memories work, what
changes occur in memory over time, and how we can improve our memories as we get
older. Fortunately, most changes in memory are normal changes of the
process, or may be caused by temporary or treatable problems.
It is important to understand that
there are memory problems in all age groups.
Children and teenagers seem to forget everything they've just been told. Many
adults are so busy and have so many distractions, they just don't have time to
remember everything. Seniors are more likely to have difficulty remembering
names, items on a list, or where they put things. In general, no one has a
"perfect" memory. Most of what happens around us is forgotten because there's no
need to remember everything. We are bombarded with information all the time and
the memory processes only the information that we need to remember.
There are many
yogic techniques that stimulate the brain and nervous system to improve memory
Dharana- or the
practice of Concentration.
Dharana affects and reduces the occupied mind. The mind is kept firm at one
place instead of letting it wander here and there. This reduces strain on the
mind. The mental strength increases. With such habitual concentration, the
work is done effectively and efficiently. The daily practice of dharana
reduces the wavering attitude of mind and a different kind of peace can be
observed throughout the day. The sixth limb of yoga, is
a state of focused attention used during asana.
trains the mind to become clear, focused and one-pointed.
In asana, using a drishti (gazing point), especially during balancing
improves mental concentration. Spine lengthening postures, the forward and back
bending poses, activate the spinal column and stimulate the nervous system.
nourish the brain by increasing circulation of blood and oxygen.
PREVENT MEMORY lapses by calming you and enhancing your concentration. It
can also improve your powers of recall by increasing circulation to your
In pranayama, the mind is focused on the breath as it flows in and out of the
body. Oxygen and prana (energy) are also increased in the body and brain by the
regulation of breath. Thus, pranayama increases concentration as well as
nourishes the brain.
Meditation is a step beyond Dharna, requiring even more mental focus and
concentration. The practice of meditation either by itself or in conjunction
with asana and pranayama un-clutters the mind by reducing excessive thinking.
Excessive thinking consumes mental energy and fogs the mind from seeing and
thinking clearly. Meditation on the sixth chakra or third eye will activate the
brain as well as focus the mind.
meditation helps with memory. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and start
silently counting backward from 50. As your concentration improves, you can
move the starting count higher, to 100, 200 or even 500. This exercise will
improve your concentration and help you remember things better.
While you practice these
poses, focus on your physical sensations and breathing. When your mind wanders,
gently remind yourself to notice what's happening in your body.
Stand tall with your
feet about 3 feet apart. Pivot on the balls of your feet to turn your heels out
slightly. Imagine you are squeezing a beach ball between your thighs throughout
this pose; this will help you keep your balance. Lift your chest toward the
ceiling and inhale.
Exhale as you slowly bend forward
from your hips with a flat back until you can touch the floor with the palms of
your hands, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
You may need to stack
books on the floor in front of you and rest your hands on them. Inhale and
lengthen your spine.
Exhale and lower your torso toward
your knees. Look at the wall behind you. Bend your elbows to point toward that
wall. If you're very flexible, you may be able to move your hands in line with
your toes, and your head may touch the floor, as pictured. Otherwise, let your
torso and head hang loosely. Press your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for
3 to 10 deep breaths.
To release, put your hands on
your hips, press down into your feet, and maintain a flat back as you return to
the standing position. Step your feet together and pause for several breaths
The headstand is one of
the most powerfully beneficial postures for both the body and mind. It rest the
heart and aids in circulation. Improves memory and concentration.
Abundant blood is supplied
to the brain when practice sirshasana, thus improving memory and increasing
After an initial child's
pose there are eight steps to carefully follow in order to practice the
Kneel down and grab your elbows
with your hands
Keep the elbows where they are and
interlock the fingers in front of you. Elbows and hands now form an equilateral
Place the very top
of your head on the floor with the back of your head resting against the fingers
Straighten the knees, raise your
hips, your body now resembling an inverted V. The weight should be about equally
distributed between your head/arms and the feet
Keeping your knees straight as
much as possible, walk with little steps, bringing your feet as close as
possible to your head. This will shift the weight from the feet onto the
head/arms. Keep your back as straight as possible to prevent your neck from
Bend the knees keeping them close
to the chest and your feet close to your buttocks. Shift the hips to keep your
Keep your knees bent and point
them to sky
Now and only now straighten your
legs. Keep your feet relaxed. Make sure that the head is supporting no more than
10% of your body weight, the rest being applied on the elbows. At first hold it
for 5 seconds. Increase gradually to 10 to 15 minutes.
circulation, including blood flow to the brain, which uses a full 25 percent of
the oxygen that enters our lungs. It also bolsters brain-nurturing chemicals and
reduces stress, which has been shown to damage the brain. Physical activity can
also ease depression, which slows thinking and may precede the onset of
Dated 02 June 2012