5 Great Yoga Poses to Improve Concentration and Mindfulness
It has been a known fact, since the ancient times that the benefits of yoga go far beyond the physical aspect. Studies reveal that daily yoga practices can help to improve concentration and mindfulness. A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois revealed that practicing yoga for twenty minutes daily can actually boost the functioning of your brain. “Yoga chitta vritti nirodha”- the famous verse from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is translated as “yoga is the reduction of the fluctuations of the mind.” This means that daily yoga practices soothe the nerves and calm the mind, keeping disturbing and distracting thoughts away.
Some of the best yogic postures and techniques are explained below that are ideal for quieting the mind and help to improve concentration and mindfulness:
Namaste or Prayer Pose
In order to perform this pose, first stand up straight with your feet together and your toes pointing straight ahead. You have to bring your hands to the center in the Namaste or Prayer position. Make sure your body weight is evenly distributed to all corners of your feet, your pelvis is in a neutral position and your shoulders are relaxed. After you have positioned yourself properly, practice deep breathing.
Garudasana or Eagle Pose
This pose helps in improving focus. To do this asana, you need to stand on your feet together, put your hands on your hips and concentrate on a steady focal point in front of you. After this, slowly bend your knees, lift your right leg and then, cross it over your left thigh. Next, hook your right foot behind your left calf. Now slowly release your hands from your hips and bring them in front of you. Slowly cross your arms, left over the right, and bend your elbows. Once done, just wrap your arms around each other and try bringing your palms together. While doing this pose, keep your back straight, focus sharp and breathing deep and continuous.
Bakasana or Crane Pose
Sit in a squatting position. Next, place your hands on the floor, about 1 foot in front of your feet, keep your shoulders wide and spread your fingers. Now focus on a point on the floor, bring your knees near your armpits and slowly shift your weight forward. After this act, try lifting one foot off the ground and then the other one. While doing this pose, practice deep breathing and stay focussed.
Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend
To perform this asana, stretch your legs in front of you with toes pointing up. When you inhale, straighten your spine. When you breathe out, just fold forward from the hips and touch the outsides of your feet, if possible. Breathe in and breathe out while you do this asana.
Nadi Shoddana Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position. Now press your right thumb against your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril. At the end of the inhalation process, close your left nostril with your ring finger and breathe out through the right nostril. Repeat this process for at least 3 minutes.
So, here goes the five yogic poses that you can practice whenever you feel scatter-brained and disturbed. Just take a break and practice these poses to clear your mind and improve your concentration.
Caution: The above mentioned yoga poses must be performed under the supervision of an expert yoga teacher. Individuals with health issues must consult their physicians/doctors before performing these poses. The number of times an individual should perform a pose completely depends on his/her health condition.
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