The Impact of Yoga on the Brain
Productivity, Positivity & Happiness
By: Evie Harrison
A calm mind is relaxed and will harbor productivity, positivity, and happiness. We are predisposed to the three. Our mind and emotions seek channels that elevate us from misery and despair.
So what do we do to channel productivity, positivity, and happiness? We nurture our state of mind and keep our bodies healthy.
The brain is a muscle, and just like any other muscle of the body, the mind needs exercise to stay healthy and grow stronger.
Yoga is known for stimulating the brain and may increase and strengthen the brain cells. The exercise focuses on proper posture and breathing, which induces calm and peace in the body, mind, heart, and spirit.
To keep the body in good health is a duty.
Otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
Yoga is an ancient practice – originating from India – subsuming the body, mind, heart, and soul in physical, mental and spiritual training that disciplines the human senses. It is famous, and its benefits are accepted worldwide.
Yoga has different goals in different belief sets and traditions in history spanning over hundreds of years. The common strands of yoga practice are the liberation of the soul, discipline, spiritual release and elation, and control over the human senses. Standard yoga methods include breathing, meditation and controlled body postures that result in multiple benefits all over the body.
More often than not, our wakeful selves are much too occupied with thoughts of the past or imaginations for the future.
Mindfulness is to harness the power of ‘now’ and pay attention to all experiences in the way they unfold. Mindfulness frees us from being judgmental, decisive and rigid. It breaks the shackles of conformity or responding in a particular way to a stimulus each time. Instead, mindfulness embraces the moment and allows one to respond to the experience in a more proactive approach.
Yogis learn to practice mindfulness – the key is to focus on breathing and movements, called ‘asana,’ for a holistic gain of the body and the mind. It is a relaxing activity that channels positive energies inside and around us.
The Savasana or the corpse pose, seated forward bend, and many other poses help the body and the mind to practice mindfulness and gain peace of mind.
Stimulating the mind and the body with yoga
As the famous saying goes, “a healthy mind needs a healthy body,” yoga is probably one of the best physical pursuits to maintain a healthy life.
There is a growing body of empirical data that suggests yoga increases brain health, brings about mindfulness, is therapeutic to addictions of the body & brain, and reduces stress. Many studies indicate that yoga increases gray matter or brain cells and strengthens them for efficient cognitive function.
The yoga asanas that increase brain power include the lotus and diamond pose, half spinal twists, headstand, and many more.
Decluttering the mind
Yoga is known for clearing brain fog. Brain fog limits an active brain and decreases the ability to concentrate and retain information.
Yoga increases brain power and improves blood circulation in the body. Active blood circulation in the head region promotes alertness, and prevents headaches and confusion, that may cause dullness and fatigue.
Yoga and meditation help in decluttering the mind and improve memory. You can experience better comprehension, and engage in intensive and extensive activities involving the brain, such as extempore debates, mathematical reasoning, etc. thus allowing your mind higher attention span, more learning, better responses, and decision-making.
Yoga offers brain exercises that boost brain activity and declutter the occupied mind, e.g., the “Bhramari Pranayama” that focuses on breathing to help the brain; the “Setu Bandhasana” that strengthens the back and the core thereby reducing stress and calming the nervous system, among many other asanas.
“We are what we eat.”
The food that we eat affects our body’s movements, energy, and cognitive responses. Different foods have different effects on the mind and body, for example, many can stay awake for long periods of time after having coffee; similarly, milk is known to induce the release of serotonin which encourages sleep; furthermore, chocolate is known to alleviate depression. Fast food, though popular, is proven to have a negative impact on the body, causing obesity, which can cause multiple problems all over the body. And there are many examples!
Yoga will detoxify your body and mind from the fast-paced, processed-food life.
Yoga manages the metabolism rate of the body. It keeps you fit and, as a matter of fact, many asanas help maintain weight and improve the digestive system, such as the Ardha Mastsyendrasana – Half Lord of the Fishes pose – and the Mayaurasna – the Peacock pose.
Care for your body
Yoga must be learned under the supervision of a practicing yogi master, although tutorials and a lot of literature are available in digital formats like DVDs, YouTube videos, etc. The yoga instructor will teach and guide your body movements, breathing techniques, and length and duration of asanas.
Yoga is one of the safest exercises. However, you must seek professional guidance to derive the goodness and the benefits.
While yoga and other forms of exercises, together with a healthy diet, have positive effects on the human body and mind, the human will is the antecedent to a healthy life.
“It is part of the cure to wish to be cured.”
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison