-By Josee Smith
Yoga has been practiced in numerous countries for hundreds of years, and the many different benefits are well established. Yoga serves the mind, body, and spirit. It supports external and internal health, emotional stability and helps reduce stress.
The meditative and breathing elements have numerous benefits for the mind and in creating a very strong mind-body connection, which is why yoga falls under the category of mind-body exercise.
One of the many advantages of yoga is it helps improve concentration and focus; research has repeatedly found people perform better in mental tasks once they have engage in yoga compared to both non-exercise and exercise.
There are different ways this can happen, but predominantly through the use of particular poses and breathing techniques. Certain yoga poses can stimulate the brain flow and nervous system, which can improve memory in addition to concentration and focus. During balance poses, the mind is taught to focus on one single point and ignore anything else. This helps improve focus and concentration by improving blood flow and oxygen around the body, and not only during a specific yoga sessions but in every day life.
Dharana is a technique that trains the mind to be focused and clear of any distractions. Meditation goes that bit further than dharana, and requires total focus and concentration. Meditation helps to reduce or even remove excessive thinking which can clog the mind and stop us focusing on important issues.
During these poses, meditation and breathing exercises, chants may also be used. These have the effect of increasing oxygen flow to the brain, which helps to clear out any unwanted chemicals, thoughts, and waste.
Kapalbhati breathing is a technique that consists of short, sharp breaths. It can help to eliminate toxins from the body and enhance mental function. This method of breathing sends calm energy to the mind, which can improve mental abilities, memory in particular. This technique is also effective for memory loss and reduces any loss that may occur for other reasons, such as health issues.
Poor focus and concentration can be caused by poor sleep, lack of exercise, poor diet, and lack of structure and routine in daily life. Yoga can help to restore the balance of routine and exercise, which is much needed. This can have a number of health benefits, but also, help to improve focus and concentration.
Here are some poses that will improve your focus and concentration.
1. Salutation Seal
This is a simple breathing technique that is used at the beginning of a yoga session. You start by sitting cross-legged on the floor and gradually bring your hands into a prayer position. Meanwhile, focus on the inhale and exhales of your breath and you will find your mind becomes much more focused very quickly.
2. Balance poses
Balance poses are very good at encouraging focus and concentration. One example is the tree stand that can be done in a few different ways. Essentially, you stand up straight with legs slightly apart. Move towards holding your knee and gradually stretch upwards. If you are balanced and confident enough, you can move your arms to the prayer position.
Pranayam involves taking a deep breath, holding it in and then exhaling. The mind works best when there is a sufficient supply of oxygen and this breathing technique is excellent at increasing oxygen levels. This technique is particularly effective when completed at the beginning of each day.
This is a particularly effective technique that releases stress and encourages concentration and increased focus. It starts with a stretch, similar to that when you wake up. Engage in a long, deep stretch and concentrate on each breath. Each breath should be long and deep, and bring increased awareness of the stress that is leaving your body. Once this stress has been released, your mind is clear to focus on important and selective tasks. This allows you to put your full focus and concentration on your chosen topic without any distractions.