New Delhi: The brain is a muscle and requires exercise to function better. Yoga is the best form of exercise for enhancing brain function. Practicing these asanas can prevent the onset of age-related degenerative brain disorders.
Bhramari pranayama (bee breathing)
Most of us spend our day in environments where we are surrounded by people, chaos, or distractions that make concentration, retention, and memorizing difficult. This asana is your ideal fix for your memory as well as concentration issues before or after a typical workday. The humming sound and vibrations help calm and soothe your mind helping you remove stress and fatigue and negative emotions, such as anxiety, agitation, anger, and frustration.
How to: Sit cross-legged and put your index fingers into your ears on the cartilage between your ear and your cheek. Inhale deeply and make a loud humming bee-like sound as you exhale, while pressing down gently into the cartilage. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Padmasana (lotus pose)
Had a stressful day? Well, the best way to relax would be to take a seat at this point, but not by falling back into a chair. Get into this cross-legged asana to truly experience the relaxing benefits sitting can offer to your mind and body. This relaxed posture helps remove tension and fatigue in your body. The more your body relieves itself of stress the more your brain is able to rejuvenate itself.
How to: Get into a seated position and sit cross-legged, by placing your right foot onto your left thing and your left foot onto your right thigh, with the soles of your feet pointing upwards. Keep your hands in a mudra position, with your index finger and thumb together and extend the rest of your fingers downwards. Inhale deeply and exhale.
Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
For desk jockeys or people who stay physically sedentary through most of the day, not only does this asana helps give your spine a stretch after sitting a chair all day, it also relieves your lower back from strain. The forward bend motion also ends up relieving your mind from stress, calms it down, and boosts blood supply. The stretch of your spine also helps remove negative emotions, like irritability and anger, as well.
How to: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, with the tops of your thighs pressed into the floor as far as you can. Breathe in as you lean forward from your hips and extend your arms and reach as far forward as you can. Then exhale when you’ve stretched out completely. Place your hands on the sides or on the soles of your feet, depending on how far you can stretch forward.
Nadisuddhi pranayama (channel cleaning breath)
Oxygen plays a vital role in improving the functioning of your brain. Considering most of us spend our days indoors a breath of fresh air can do your brain a world of good, as it provides your brain with an extra dose of oxygen. Breathe in and out slowly, as you experience a drop in your heart rate while performing the asana—this will automatically lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety.
How to: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and exhale deeply. Keep your right nostril closed with your thumb and breathe in from the left one. Then hold both your nostrils closed for a couple of seconds before you open your right nostril and keep the left one closed while breathing out from it. Repeat the process, but this time begin with your right nostril that is already open.
Halasana (plow pose)
The last decade has seen the worst deterioration of our sleeping habits and our sleep itself for multiple reasons. Factors like anxiousness, repetitive thoughts, and restless emotions can often get the better of your sleep. This is the ideal asana to prep your body and mind for relaxation and meditation. It helps to improve blood circulation to all parts of your body, including your brain, and soothes your entire body.
How to: Lie flat on your back with your arms and palms facing downwards and flat on the ground. Use your abdominal muscles and the help of your hands with them on your hips to raise your legs. Sweep them over your head till your toes touch the floor above your head in this lying down position. Inhale while you do so. Hold this position for a few seconds before bringing your legs back to its original position.