Yoga isn’t just for relaxation and flexibility.
Many of us use yoga for its physical benefits: increased strength, flexibility, and relaxation. But there’s another aspect of yoga that we don’t often talk about. Yoga has been shown to improve our cognitive function, too.
One study by the University of Illinois found that mindfulness meditation, which is an important part of many types of yoga, can help achieve better focus and reduce stress. In this study, the research team concluded that mindfulness “enhances several aspects of cognition, with benefits arising in both controlled or automatic modes of thought.” Basically, mindful activities—like yoga—can help us think more clearly and rationally while also making it easier to process our emotions in a healthy way.
Half-moon pose is a balancing posture that increases strength and stamina, while simultaneously stretching the hips, hamstrings, calves, groin, shoulders, and chest. It also provides an excellent stretch to the spine and strengthens the abdominal muscles.
To get into this pose begin by standing in Mountain Pose with your feet together. Inhale as you raise both arms toward the ceiling to bring your body weight onto your right foot. Place your left hand on your left hip and exhale as you extend your right arm straight above you toward the sky. Beginners may also place their fingertips on a wall or other stationary object to aid in balance if needed.
You should feel a stretch in each side of the body and through the shoulders. With practice this pose can be modified to deepen its benefits by raising both arms up to meet above you with palms facing one another and then extending them out from each other from shoulder level so that they are pointing straight up towards the ceiling (as shown below).
- Lie on your back, with your arms at your sides.
- Lift your butt off the floor and bring your knees to your chest.
- Straighten out your legs and raise them up until they’re perpendicular to the floor.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds while taking deep breaths, then release and return to a lying position.
- Repeat 5 times
Crow pose is a fun, challenging pose that builds upper body strength and tones the abdominal area. To get into this position, start in a squatting position with your hands flat on the floor in front of you. Press your palms firmly against the floor and lift up onto your toes as you tighten your core muscles. Now bend your elbows, keeping them close to your torso and put the weight on your arms as you shift forward so that the crown of your head comes in contact with the mat. Keep lifting from the abs and inner thighs until only your knees are touching the floor (or rest them atop one another if you prefer). Stay here for 10-15 breaths, then slowly come down by pressing back into down dog or child’s pose
Benefits: This position strengthens arm muscles and stretches out shoulders while developing balance. It will also boost confidence!
This is an intense back bend that has many benefits. It improves digestion, reduces stress and improves posture. It relieves lower back pain and strengthens the thighs, stomach and chest. Finally, it helps to increase flexibility in the shoulders and chest, open the heart and lungs, strengthen the back muscles and improve spinal flexibility.
Here’s how you do it
Kneel on a mat with your knees hip-width apart while touching each other. Use a cushion beneath your knees if you need one. When kneeling, make sure that your big toes are touching each other. Your hips should be over your knees as well as directly above your ankles for comfort. Ensure that your shoulders are in line with your hips as well as above them such that they are squared off straight to the front of the room or space where you are practicing yoga exercises for brain power improvement in children or adults.
Seated forward bend
Also known as ardha chandrasana, the half-moon pose can help you build your concentration while strengthening your legs and stretching your hamstrings. Ardha chandrasana tests your balance and also stimulates your abdominal organs, bladder, kidneys, and liver. Plus, it’s said to boost digestion and relieve menstrual discomfort. The half-moon pose is a variation on other forms of forward bending—it’s basically an assisted version where you hold onto a wall for support. It may not be as challenging as its free-standing counterpart, but the half-moon pose will still take some practice before you can nail it.
How to do ardha chandrasana
Stand with your feet together in Tadasana (mountain pose), which looks like standing normally with a straight back and steady breathing. 2. Spread out your arms sideways to shoulder level so they form a T shape with your body 3. Turn 90 degrees to the right 4. Place one hand against the wall 5. Raise one leg back until it’s aligned with the wall 6 Your feet should be about two inches apart 7 Your head should now be between two arms 8 Bend at the hip until you’re parallel to the floor 9 Stretch out both legs 10 Press down into one heel 11 Keep pushing through that heel until you’re able to straighten both legs 12 Now raise one leg up without losing alignment 13 You should now be standing on one foot with both legs straight 14 Breathe normally 15 Hold this position for five deep breaths 16 Bring both feet back together 17 Repeat on each side three times 18 To make this yoga exercise more difficult or advanced, try taking away one of those final five breaths or doing sets of six reps instead of three
Triangle pose is a classic yoga position that tones all three sections of the spine and stretches the chest, neck, and legs. For any modern yogi, it’s an essential pose for building strength and flexibility. Follow these steps to perform triangle pose correctly:
- Start in mountain pose with your feet together. Slowly raise your arms out to shoulder height, palms facing down.
- Keeping your torso straight, shift your weight onto your right leg and carefully slide your left foot back until you feel a stretch in the front of both legs. As you do this step, turn towards the right side. Using the hand on that same side (right), reach down over top of the right leg as far as you can go while keeping your torso straight—in most people this will be just below or above their knee cap. At this point you should have one arm up over head reaching across your body towards the floor on the opposite side, and another arm reaching down towards the floor on whichever side you shifted onto—the two hands should be pointing in roughly opposite directions from one another. Hold this position for 30 seconds without bouncing before switching sides so that each leg gets stretched equally by triangle pose.
Benefits: Triangle pose builds strength in both legs as well as flexibility in both hips—making it a great exercise to include if you struggle with tightness or pain there! Triangle pose also improves digestion by stretching out abdomen muscles when done correctly (see safety precautions below).
Safety precautions: Be sure not to bounce or hold triangle pose longer than advised to protect yourself from injury! The correct way to perform triangle pose is often difficult at first; don’t get discouraged or give up if it doesn’t happen immediately! It can take many months (or years!) of regular practice before performing triangle poses becomes comfortable enough to allow for deep breaths throughout its duration—but keep trying even if it takes longer than expected because doing poses incorrectly can cause more harm than good!