6 Super Brain Yoga Exercises to Boost Your Gray Matter

By Elizabeth Herman | Updated on: September 08, 2020

When you wake up every morning, your overall health sets the tone for the day. Any ailment can put a damper on your enthusiasm and hinder your performance of daily tasks. There are many yoga asanas that can help you stay healthy physically, but that’s not the only prerequisite for holistic well-being. Your mental health is equally crucial.

Your brain plays an essential role in carrying out daily tasks. Your ability to respond, comprehend, perceive and function well is related to the health of your brain.

Yet, most of us do not realize that like every other organ in the body, the brain needs nourishment and energy every day. Just like exercising helps keep the body in a good shape, so do brain exercises strengthen the intelligence powerhouse. Targeted yoga asanas, particularly, help in the better overall functioning of the human body and brain.

Yoga asanas and pranayama for the brain

Yoga is a science that harnesses the innate capability of the body to improve its powers and functioning. With regular practice, it acts as an instant cognitive boost. It helps relieve stress, which enhances the functioning of the brain. Also, breathing through the left nostril activates the right brain and using the right nostril does the same to the left brain. Super brain yoga has also caught on among professionals and educators for increasing the life force, also known as pranic healing. It involves several short and simple exercises to increase your brain power.

1) Bhramari pranayama (humming bee breathing)

Bhramari Pranayama is a breathing practice that involves the production of a humming sound in the throat while using the fingers to block the release of air through the ears, eyes, nose and mouth. It's a simple way to start practicing super brain yoga. The humming sound causes vibrations to radiate outward from the vocal cords. These vibrations stay in the head when the fingers lock the head’s openings, and they help to both relax and stimulate energy in the brain and all the surrounding tissue.

The advantages of bee-breathing include:

  • Helps calm the mind

  • Releases negative emotions like anger, agitation, frustration, and anxiety

  • Improves concentration and memory

  • Builds confidence

  • Encourages pranic healing

2) Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)

Seated Forward Bend involves getting into a seated position, and stretching your upper body over your legs, which are extended in front of you. You can inhale while your hands are stretched out above your legs and feet, and exhale as you bring your arms and hands downward to hold on to your legs and feet.

This posture does the following:

  • Stretches the spine, helps relieve stress

  • Relaxes the mind by removing negative emotions like irritability and anger

3) Halasana (plow pose)

This asana supports a healthy brain when you go from a lying down position to stretching your legs and hips over your head and behind you. The extension of the legs resembles the motion of a plow through the earth, which is where it got its name, Plow Pose.

The benefits of this posture include:

  • Helps improve blood flow to the brain and calms the nervous system

  • Stretches the back and neck, reducing stress and fatigue and increasing energy

4) Setu bandhasana (bridge pose)

Bridge Pose starts from lying down on your back, and lifting the hips and arching the back, with the knees at a ninety degree angle and the lower legs straight up and down. The neck, shoulders and head stay on the floor, and the shoulder blades and arms can squeeze together on the floor to help lift your middle and lower spine higher off the floor.

This posture provides these super brain yoga perks:

  • Strengthening and stretching the neck and spine, relaxing tight muscles and improving blood circulation to the brain and resulting brain waves

  • Calming the brain and nervous system, thereby reducing anxiety, stress, and depression

5) Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)

Shoulder stand involves lifting your body off of the ground until your legs, hips and spine are aligned vertically and your weight is resting on your shoulders and elbows. Your head and neck stay on the floor but your weight is not on them.

The helpful effects of this asana are:

  • Regulating and normalizing the functioning of thyroid and parathyroid glands, thus improving energy and the brain’s functioning

  • Nourishing the brain as more blood reaches the pineal and hypothalamus glands

  • Helping improve mental clarity and other cognitive functions

6) Super brain yoga sit-ups

In addition to the asanas mentioned above, here’s an exercise that uses the ear lobes, the arms and sitting and standing repeatedly to help brain function:

a) Stand tall and straight, with your arms down at your sides.

b) Fold your left arm and hold your right earlobe with your thumb and index finger. Your thumb should be in front.

c) Fold your right arm and hold your left earlobe.

d) Inhale deeply and squat down slowly to a sitting position.

e) Stay in this position for 2-3 seconds.

f) Gently exhale as you rise up again. This completes one cycle.

g) You may repeat this cycle about 15 times every day.

Super brain yoga is a technique that activates acupuncture points on the earlobe that helps stimulate your gray matter. This yoga exercise helps your brain by:

  • Synchronizing left and right side of the brain

  • Distributing energy levels and increasing a sense of calmness

  • Stimulating thinking capacity

  • Increasing mental energy

  • Making you more creative

  • Developing cognitive powers

  • Improving focus, concentration and memory power

  • Boosting decision-making skills

  • Relieving stress or behavioral problems

  • Making you more psychologically balanced for long term healing

This brain yoga exercise is known to help patients with Alzheimer’s, mild depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Down’s syndrome, Autism, and Dyslexia among others. You could also follow-up this exercise with a session of guided meditation.

Increase brain power with meditation

Most of us know that meditating is a great way to reduce stress. Meditation improves blood circulation to the brain. About 6 hours a week of meditation may actually change the brain structure. These changes help sharpen focus, and improve memory and multitasking skills.

A 2011 study by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
substantiated these claims. Meditation is associated with a thicker cerebral cortex and more gray matter. These are the parts of the brain linked to memory, attention span, decision-making, and learning. Thus, meditation along with physical yoga is a means to increase brain power.

So you see, yoga asanas, super brain yoga, breathing, and meditation can all stimulate your brain power. To know more about the Sri Sri Yoga Foundation Program, join this introductory yoga class for FREE. Spare some time every day and lead a smart life!

The Art of Living Foundation offers a free online session, Beyond Breath, by attending the same you could get a taste of some powerful guided breathing exercise and meditation. You can select a date and time that works for you and join for free. You will also learn more about the SKY Breath Meditation

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

By Elizabeth Herman - PhD in English, with concentrations in Rhetoric and Composition, and Literature, she offers writing support to clients, teaches locally, lives in Boone, NC, and volunteers for a better world.

Art of Living Part 1 course: Discover Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ancient secret to modern well-being.

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