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Build your brain power with yoga

posted 8 May 2015, 03:43 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 09:43 ]
By JoAnn Bayus

I recently attended a yoga class conducted by a good friend of mine. She is an inspiration to me because she seems to have a natural calm about her, even in the most frustrating situations. Although I can’t always say the same about myself, over the years I have made a conscious effort to take time to centre my mind through exercise, mediation, visualization, and stress reduction…and I must say I’ve gotten pretty good. However, attending this class got me thinking beyond my most frequently used approaches to brain and body health.

I’ve read many articles regarding the physical benefits of yoga but I wondered what the recent research said about the benefits of yoga for the brain. So, I set out to find the answers. As it turns out, dozens of studies have found that yoga poses, yoga breathing, and yoga meditation techniques help improve concentration and memory, alleviate anxiety, calm emotions, and can actually alter brain waves.

One study conducted by members of the American College of Sports Medicine showed that participation in a Hatha yoga program significantly improved standard assessment scores measuring concentration and motivation in participants in as little as eight weeks.

Another intriguing technique is called Superbrain Yoga. Superbrain Yoga, developed by Master Choa Kok Sui, reportedly requires as little as two minutes per day of consistent practice to achieve benefit such as improved ability to focus, decreased negative emotions and behaviors, and increased tolerance for frustration.

One study conducted on 56 middle school students who were experiencing academic and behavioural problems resulted in increased academic scores and ability to concentrate, dramatic increases in student participation both in and out of the classroom, and decreases in problem behaviours. One of their teachers was reported as saying, “I have been a teacher for fifteen years; no tool has had the same effects in my classroom as Superbrain Yoga.”

Although my primary exercise of choice is running, I have committed myself to including yoga in my routine. I have a feeling that my brain will be happy about that!

Resources:

American College of Sports Medicine. “Yoga Improved Concentration, Motivation – Benefits Beyond Strength and Flexibility.” Medical News Today,MediLexicon, Intl., 13 Jun. 2007. Web. 7 Jul. 2012 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/73962.php

Master Choa Kok Sui. SuperBrain Yoga. Institute for Inner Studies Publishing Foundation, Inc. 2005.

JoAnn Bayus
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