While speaking of yoga, we tend to associate it with several health benefits. Most of us, at some point in time, have attended a yoga class with a friend, considering it to be a fun way to de-stress and relax after a hectic week at work. Nevertheless, have you ever practiced yoga to achieve something beyond this?
According to research, yoga is a great way to improve focus and enhance your concentration. It affects the neural patterns of the brain and improves our ability to focus. In the fast-paced everyday life, it is not uncommon for our concentration to stray. This, in turn, can hamper productivity. Practicing yoga regularly helps calm your mind and increase your focus too. It also fosters mindfulness and tenacity in the long run.
Embracing Yoga for Improved Focus
Yoga has become one of the most popular stress relievers in recent years in the USA. The practice of yoga goes back to almost 5,000 years, with its origins rooted in the Indian subcontinent. In the early 18th century, yoga masters began migrating to the West, thus attracting attention and gaining more followers. Hatha yoga is a form of yoga propagated by both Indian and Western instructors. This is a combination of breathing exercises, postures, and meditation. It helps to relax the body and mind as well as provides more clarity to our thoughts. The yogic sage Patanjali described yoga in his Yoga Sutras as a means to reduce the “fluctuations of the mind.”
Benefits of Yoga to Improve Concentration
Improves Attention and Focus
A publication in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement states that meditation, when used in various forms of yoga, can improve the participant’s focus. This includes even those who are elderly. Practicing yoga for 3 months can help improve the functioning of your brain. Practicing 10 minutes of meditation can reduce your stress levels and bring about a marked increase in your focus.
Works on Your Memory and Cognition
Studies imply that practicing yoga a few days in the week can positively affect the way our body responds to stress and carries out cognitive functions. Researchers from the University of Illinois also concluded that 8 weeks of practicing Hatha yoga (a mixture of postures and breathing exercises) enhanced cognitive functions even in the elderly with an inactive lifestyle. The members showed significant improvement in their focus on daily tasks.
Reduces Levels of Anxiety and Improves Energy
Hatha yoga, as determined by another group of researchers from the University of Waterloo also boosts energy levels and busts anxiety effectively. This, in turn, improves the brain’s functionality as well as focus. The rise in energy levels is due to the endorphins released during the yoga sessions, along with an increase in blood flow. Studies further suggest that yoga can lower anxiety and disturbing emotions that restrict cognitive functions and cloud judgment.
Some common yogic poses that enhance concentration are:
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- Intoxicating Bliss Pose (Ananda Madirasana)
- Hero’s Pose (Virasana)
- Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)
- Seated Mountain Pose (Parvatasana)
Some common pranayamas that improve focus are:
- Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama)
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
- Chanting Breathing (Udgeeth Pranayama)
Improper sleeping patterns, lack of regular exercise and bad food habits can be major causes of focus-related issues. While yoga helps put your body in shape and get your routine sorted, you must work on your food habits as well. It is a combination of proper diet and regular yoga that helps people improve their focus and achieve a better quality of life.
Read here our favorite yoga poses for more energy.