Our brain is like a super computer, isn’t it? Memories are like files stored in our brain computer, storing lots and lots of information. Scientists are still exploring this marvelous creation of the almighty. More they discover, more they find it complex. It is truly amazing how our mind functions.
Some people in world have excellent memory; we say they are born with superior brain. The day since we are born, we start storing experiences and memory expands. Development of brain is rapid when we a child and memory increases. But as we grow older, this memory starts fading. Most of us, as we grow old would have bad experience recollecting names or phone number, don’t we? This we know as symptom of aging. But these days, due to multiple factors – food, pollution, lifestyle and associated stress, memory loss is also seen in quite young ages.
Stress and Memory loss
Recent research has established strong correlation between stress and memory. Read this community page on Wikipedia which details out effect of stress on memory. Stress interferes the way with which we store or retrieve information. This is what in layman we call as memory loss or weak memory. When we are stressed, our body produces stress hormones. This is our body response to cater to the stress. But over secretion or regular high amount of these stress hormones / cortisols in our body has negative effect on our brain memory. Stress can even lead to acute or chronic changes in parts of brain leading to permanent damage of memory. Thus in a way our memories are associated with our hormonal system. Having established that main cause of memory loss is stress and anxiety, other possible reasons could be fatigue or lack of sleep or some health disorder.
Yoga for memory power
Yoga is a traditional practice which helps keep balance between body and mind. On spiritual levels it also helps create between not only mind and body but also our soul. Use of yoga to increase memory power has been practices for long. In this article further we shall help you reveal answers for how to increase memory power by Yoga.
Various studies have been undertaken recently on yoga for memory and concentration. In one study, group of students who conducted yoga and fine arts were tested. The results showed that yoga practice including postures, breathing and meditation improved delayed recall of information. In another study, yoga practice improved cognitive functions including attention span. This study concludes that Yoga can improve cognitive functions like attention, concentration, delayed recall, verbal retention, recognition and others.
Physical postures or Asanas in Yoga helps improve oxygen supply to brain, stimulates nervous system and thus increase concentration and memory power. Dharana or state of focused attention during asanas helps train mind to clear and be focused; thus increases concentration. Practice of meditation along with yogasanas rejuvenates, recharges the mind. Thus simple solution to question of how to increase memory power of brain by yoga is through yogasanas, pranayama and meditation. They act as powerful tools for developing sharp memory
Yoga asanas for concentration and memory
Spine lengthening postures, the forward and back bending poses, activate the spinal column and stimulate the nervous system. Inverted postures nourish the brain by increasing circulation of blood and oxygen.
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.
Pranayam are simple breathing exercises but they aid memory improvement and concentration. During pranayam, one takes deep breath inside one nostril at a time, while holding other nostril and subsequently breathing from other nostril. Do this cycle for 10-15 minutes at the beginning and gradually increasing as feel better. You can feel that oxygen is getting filled in your body. Good time to do this exercise is in the morning.
A study has found that pranayama helped improve results in verbal and spatial memory tests, improved performance in spatial cognitive task
Bhramari pranayama or the bee breath is quite effective in keeping your mind calm, reduce anxiety and anger and cure sinus problems. This is quite simple and can be practiced virtually at any place.
To practice Bhramari Pranayama, sit in relaxed position. Take a deep breath and when you exhale make a low pitched humming sound in the throat. With your eyes closed, you would feel the vibrations right through your throats, mouth, teeth, sinuses and head. Do this for 5-6 rounds. Other way to amplify the effect is through Shanmukhi Mudra – with your thumbs push targus (cartilage bump between cheek and ear) to close your ear, index finger just touching eye corners, middle fingers on side of nose, ring finger over lips and smallest finger below. While you exhale, press your targus and lightly your eye balls. Feeling the vibrations in various parts of your body is important part of this exercise. This exercise helps improve blood circulation to your brain and reduce stress, thus increase memory power and concentration.
Sirshasana is important part of yoga for brain memory. It is one of the best yoga techniques for memory. In Sanskrit, sirshasana would mean king of all asanas. In this posture, body is completely inverted. Head resting on floor while rest of body supported by forearms. It facilitates flow of blood to upper parts of body including head and neck. This helps to enhance memory. This is asana is surely not for beginners. Other benefits include drainage of impure blood and lymph from legs, reverses effect of gravity on spine, re-aligns vertebral column or correct postural defects. It stimulates pituitary gland and improves hormonal system. Read more about specific steps of this asana here.
Sarvangasana as the name suggests it is posture for all body parts. It is known as shoulder stand and is comparable to Shirshasana (head stand). To perform this, lie down on the floor and try lifting up your legs in the upward direction. Support the back with two hands, one on each side. Rest the elbows on the ground. Lift up your legs upwards until they become perpendicular to the floor. Do not allow the body to shake or move. Keep the legs straight. When the Asana is over, bring the legs down very slowly without any jerks. RELAX.
Regular practice of shoulder stand helps improve blood circulation to brain, thyroid gland, pituitary and pineal glands. It activates brain and improves grasping power.
Doing Matsyasana or fish posture after doing this asana releases stress in your neck and shoulder region.
This is known as cobra pose. Your neck, spine, back and lower back is stretched in this posture. It cures your spinal problem, improves memory and strengthens thyroid glands. To do this asana, lie down on stomach, with pams on ground on both sides of chest. As you inhale, push your body by spreading your hands while elbows and shoulders remaining close to chest. Feet, thighs and pelvic region to remain grounded. Hold this position for few breaths and gently reverse the positions as you exhale.
Halasana or the plough pose is a forward bending exercise for your spine. This is an advanced yoga pose and should not be practiced by beginners. Lie down on the floor. As you inhale, lift up your legs in the upward direction until they become perpendicular to the floor. Continue breathing normally and now bring your legs downwards from over your head until they touch the ground. Your feet would have swept 180 degree angle. Rest the palm of your hands on your back in order to support your position. Relax. Hold this pose and let your body relax more and more with each steady breath. Reverse the position without jerk while continuing breathing. This asana helps calm nervous system, reduce stress or fatigue and stimulates thyroid gland.
This posture means mountain position. This seated posture helps develop focus and concentration. Sit in a yogic posture say padmasana or sukhasana. Close your eyes, join palms to form Namaste and lift the hands well above your head. This asana stretches spine. It helps relieve stress from body especially for people having to work long time infront of computer.
Shavasan / Yoga Nidra
Shavasana or the Corpse Pose is generally the last asana to be performed during yoga session. This posture asks for sleeping on your back and focusing on your body as you feel it gradually relaxing. Yoga Nidra is a technique which follows from Shavasan and provides relaxation to body as may be derived from sleep. Study has suggested that Shavasana can improve performance in attention tasks, reduce anxiety. Practicing this posture before taking an exam helps your recall.
Yoga offers very simple exercises with deep impact on your mind and body. Regular practice of yoga can improve memory and concentration.