In modern times and the multiple commitments it brings along with it, many people are increasingly facing memory issues and difficulty in focussing on a task. This is due to endless to-do lists, increasing competition, peer pressure and workload. Brain health can also get affected due to unmanaged stress, lack of sleep and excessive screen time. It’s important to slow down and engage in activities that are meaningful, mindful and de-stressing. Adopting Yoga practices in daily life can help your body and mind transition into a peaceful state. Various yoga postures and pranayama can soothe nerves, release stress and calm the mind which can in turn enhance your cognitive function and memory. (Also read: World Brain Day 2023: Foods to eat and avoid for sharper memory, improving brain health)
Dr Hansaji Yogendra, Director, The Yoga Institute in an interview with HT Digital shares everyday Yoga tips to enhance brain health and improve memory:
1. Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness can bring clarity and peace at the same time. When you are more aware of the present moment, your mind is at ease, and this helps you focus on a task well. Start your day with a few minutes of mindfulness meditation. Sit in a comfortable posture with your eyes closed and focus on your breath. This practice calms the mind, reduces mental chatter, and sets a positive tone for the day ahead.
2. Practicing asanas
Another morning ritual that can improve your brain health is practicing asanas that improve blood flow to the brain and bring clarity. Practice such Yoga asanas can awaken your senses. Matsyasana, Sirsashana, Sarvangasana, invigorate the nervous system and improve brain health.
3. Relaxation with Savasana
How you unwind your day can make a great difference in your brain health. Yoga can help you reduce stress which can in turn improve your cognitive function. Savasana (Corpse Pose) allows your body and mind to integrate the benefits of Yoga practice.
4. Pranayama for clarity
Observing your breath is the best way to bring stillness and comfort. The practice helps you connect with self and align yourself with your truth. Incorporate pranayama (breath control) exercises into your routine. Pranayama techniques like Ujjayi and Kapalabhati oxygenate the brain, helping to improve focus and memory.
5. Gratitude practice
As you observe your breath, focus on the asanas, and begin to see the movement of your thoughts, you will realise many things to be grateful about. The feeling that you are blessed in so many ways can work wonders for your brain health. Gratitude boosts positivity and reduces stress, creating the best environment for improved brain function.
6. Include brain-boosting foods
A satvik ahaar is important for your brain health. Combine Yoga with a brain-healthy diet. Consume foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins that nourish the brain. Blueberries, walnuts, avocados, and dark leafy greens are excellent choices.
7. Quality sleep
Deep sleep is increasingly becoming a dream for many people giving rise to a host of health issues. Lack of sleep or disruptions in it severely affects mental health, mood and overall productivity. Prioritize quality sleep, as it plays a vital role in boosting memory and overall brain health. Practicing Yashtikasana and abdominal breathing before sleeping works wonders and also improves the quality of sleep.
8. Consistency in Yoga practice
Yoga is a life-long journey and as you go along this path, magical things will await you that will transform you completely. Aim to make Yoga a part of your daily routine to experience its long-term benefits on brain health and memory.