Everybody wants better focus and concentration, especially in this multi-tasking world. Mindfulness practices combined with physical activity are the most recommended antidote, so once again yoga is here for you. Try these 7 yoga poses for better focus and concentration – Chair, Crow, Dancer, Forearm Stand, Eagle, Half Moon, and Tree.
Multitasking sounds like a great idea – get more done in less time. But studies are now showing that the human brain doesn’t handle multitasking very well. In fact, it looks like it actually reduces our concentration and overall performance. Our brains lack the ability to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Multitasking is merely the action of quickly switching attention from one activity to another – back and forth, back and forth. This action lacks attention to detail and development of foresight and robs us of the practice of focus and concentration.
YOGA POSES FOR BETTER FOCUS – CHAIR & CROW
QUALITY OF SLEEP
Sleep deprivation, disrupted nighttime sleep, and varying sleep schedules will do a whammy on your focus. While we sleep our bodies work to repair muscles, organs, and other cells. During sleep, the brain solidifies what we’ve learned, integrates it into our knowledge base, and clears out the rubbish that is not needed. Even if you do not feel tired, if your brain hasn’t had the proper amount and quality of sleep it will be at a disadvantage to recover and repair from its waking state, thus adversely affecting your focus and concentration.
STRESS CAUSES BRAIN FOG
Stress is another factor that can adversely affect focus, concentration, and memory. Stress tends to busy the mind, making it difficult to keep the mind on any consistent thoughts or topics before it is disrupted and pulled right back to those stressful thoughts. Stress often leads to exhaustion, which can lead to cognitive impairment that includes issues with concentration and working memory.
YOGA POSES FOR BETTER FOCUS – DANCER & PINCHA MAYURASANA
IMPORTANCE OF DIET
And what about diet? Glucose is needed to fuel healthy brain functioning, but too much sugar will slow that same functioning down. Today Americans eat as much sugar in two weeks as it took us to consume in one year in the late 1800s. Read that again. This overload of refined sugar is damaging to all kinds of cells but particularly those of the brain.
IMPROVE FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION WITH YOGA
After your sleep cycles, stress levels, and diet are in check, the #1 recommendation to improve memory and concentration is physical activity, particularly those considered to be mindful practices. A Harvard study states that yoga ‘actually makes your brain work better.’ Through the practice of yoga the brain cells develop new connections, and the structure and function of the brain change resulting in improved learning and memory. MRI brain scans show that regular yoga practitioners have a thicker cerebral cortex (the information processor) and hippocampus (the learning and memory center). These areas of the brain tend to shrink with age, but older yogis show less shrinkage compared to older nonyogis. This is good news since older adults are the fastest-growing population in the world with over 2 billion people expected to be ≥60 years of age by 2050.
YOGA POSES FOR BETTER FOCUS – EAGLE, HALF MOON & TREE
A regular yoga practice of just a few times a week has been shown to decrease stress levels, thus reducing one of the main factors of loss of focus. So yoga attacks this problem from both ends – preventing a lack of focus from developing and also reducing it after the fact. Fascinating, isn’t it?
We’ve offered up the best yoga poses for better focus – Chair, Crow, Dancer, Forearm Stand, Eagle, Half Moon, and Tree. Try these, work them into a flow, and keep coming back to your mat. The consistency of your practice will keep your body strong and flexible, and your mind sharp.