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Ever since I started yoga I saw large improvements in my overall strength and I noticed that my ability to think was sharper. I was able to come up with more creative solutions and it felt like my memory had improved.
So can yoga improve memory? Yes, it can. Yoga can improve memory by introducing new movement patterns and cardiovascular activity to your body which help stimulate the growth of brain derived neurotrophic factors, which improves the function of neurons, encourages their growth, and protects them from cell death.
Exercise is very underrated because people believe that the only reason they should do it is to lose weight. Discovering the true power of exercise and learning about the different methods of improving brain function will surprise you.
How Yoga Improves Brain Function
Yoga improves brain function because the act of movement signals to the brain that something important is about to happen. According to the department of Neurology at the University of Muenster, exercise before learning something new will actually increase your rate of learning by 20%.
The act of physical exercise itself also has the potential to improve academic performance. Maybe before going into you next study session or meeting, you should try a 20 minute yoga routine to give you a little boost!
Yoga can also improve brain function by introducing new movements to the body. Getting into these “weird” poses challenges your brain and body to figure out the movement pattern of going from pose to pose.
All this information is very inspiring because it should provide enough motivation for you to start your practice or bring it to the next level.
One of the best videos on how exercise improves brain function was created by the YouTube channel What I’ve Learned. Here is the video that goes into more detail on this subject.
Memory Improving Yoga Poses
The following poses have the ability to improve your memory due to the fact that they test your concentration and strength. Incorporating these yoga poses into your daily routine will wake up your brain and get you ready for the day.
Here is the list of memory improving yoga poses:
- Warrior Pose 3
- Crow Pose
- Shoulder Stand Pose
- Half Moon Pose
- Wild Thing Pose
1.Warrior Pose 3
Start in Mountain Pose. On the exhale bring your right foot back on the ball of your foot. Make sure both of your toes feet are facing forward.
Make sure your hips are aligned by placing both hands on them. Next lift your right foot up by hinging at your hips. Bring your upper torso forward while keeping both hips aligned. Make sure you right foot is still flex as if it is up against the wall.
Next, bring your hands forward and make sure they are facing each other. Contract all your muscles throughout your body to maintain your balance.
Squat down with your knees nice and wide, with your palms on the ground. Keep your feet on the ground and begin to rotate your torso forward so that your knees are placed securely over your tricep muscle. Continue to move forward with strong arms until your feet are lifted off the ground.
The video below is a perfect tutorial for those that have never attempted crow pose before because it walks you through a step by step tutorial on how to build up the confidence to do crow pose. For those of you that don’t need to build up, skip to minute 7:02 to see the proper form.
3.Shoulder Stand Pose
Lie down on your back in a relaxed position. Keep your hands on the ground near your sides and bring your knees to your chest. Press your hands into the ground and lift your hips above the floor, remembering to keep your knees bent.
Now bring your hands to your lower back to provide support.
To bring your body more upright walk your hands down your back closer to your torso. At this point you should feel no stress in your neck because everything is resting on your shoulders.
Next, lift your knees up so they are aligned with your hips, then straighten out your legs so your feet are above you.
4.Half Moon Pose
Start off in Mountain Pose. Bring your right foot forward about two feet. Shift your weight over your right ankle causing your left heel to lift.
Hinge forward from your hips and place your right fingertips on the ground aligned with your right foot, stacking your right shoulder over your right hand.
Find your balance and slowly lift your left foot and left hand off the ground. Make sure your left hand is aligned over your right hand.
Check out Yoga journal’s in depth video on how to do half moon pose.
5.Wild Thing Pose
Start off in Downward Facing Dog. Slowly bring your right leg to the sky. Once your right foot is in the air take a slight bend with the knee. Make sure your hips are squared.
Take a deep breath. On the next inhale come into plank but make sure your shoulders are slight behind your wrists. Rotate on the outer edge of your left foot nice and slowly.
Bring the ball of your right foot to the floor fairly close to your right hip.
Your left foot should remain planted on the floor pointing to the left while your left shoulder is slightly below the alignment of your wrist. Open up your chest and reach your right hand back to get a nice stretch.
More Ways To Improve Brain Function
By practicing yoga as a form of exercise, you are improving the overall health of your body and mind. Movement is an essential factor for improving your brain function that should be incorporated with these other methods for even better results. Here are a few basic tips to help you improve your brain function:
1. Sleep. Sleeping is very important in our ability to learn. Some people believe that putting in all nighters the night before a test is the best way to pass. This can not be further from the truth!
If you ever had to make a choice between sleep and losing a lot of sleep right before a test, always choose sleep. Sleep deprivation will actually cause you to think slower and make poor decisions. Getting rest is essential and in the end will help you much more than trying to cram information into your tired mind.
2. Challenge Your Brain. Playing games that introduce new concepts and activities is great for your brain. Some of the basic games can be found on your phone. One that I have used is Luminosity.
Chess is another great game to challenge your brain. The process of playing the game effectively works both sides of your brain, challenging you to use it in a way that you have not done before.
3. Brain Foods. There are actual foods and supplements that will enhance your brain function. For more details check out the paragraph below to get a list of brain foods.
4. Meditation. Meditation has the power to clear your mind and reduce your stress. Relaxing your body and mind will make you much sharper during the learning process.
Studies have also shown that meditation can increase the grey matter density in your brain which is very important for learning and memory.
Before learning a new activity, try focusing on your breath for just 10 minutes.
What Foods Improve Brain Function?
Garbage in=garbage out is an equation I think about a lot when I am trying to improve my overall health. When you introduce unhealthy foods to your body it usually results in poor health and slow motor functions.
For the next 30 days try incorporating these brain foods into your diet and see how it affects your overall health.
- Mixed Berries
- Water (not just a little bit, try to drink 10 to 16 cups a day)
- Coconut oil
- Dark Chocolate (my favorite!)
- Ginger (reduces inflammation)
- Green tea
One of the easiest ways to turn eating brain foods every day into a habit is to make a smoothie with some of the ingredients. Try mixing a handful of kale, handful of spinach, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 cup of mixed berries, and water into a smoothie. Play around with how much you need in order for the smoothie to taste really good to you.
One of the best methods to improve your overall quality of life is….EXERCISE.
Movement is life. Move around, get your heart pumping.
Try out different yoga routines you have never done before. Need some ideas? Check out our yoga and fitness resource library that provide you with different types of routines.
I hope you have found this article helpful and I hope it inspires you to incorporate more movement into your life!
Ally is the co-founder of Yoga Rove with her fiance Victor. She began practicing yoga at the beginning of her career as a Registered Nurse to cope with the physical and mental stress it put on her, and it quickly became apart of her life. Her goal is to help beginners develop a fulfilling practice without the intimidation. Besides managing this website, she loves hiking with her loving fiance and cuddling with her two silly cats.