Did you know yoga can improve your memory? It’s easy to see how when you consider that yoga is a lifestyle practice with a host of benefits for mind and body. Your memory, of course, is a function of your mind.
Many things we do in yoga can help strengthen the mind. Examples include meditation, breathing exercise, and poses that require concentration and focus. Combined with other practices that are good for your brain, yoga can help improve your memory.
Training the Mind with One-Pointed Meditation
In classical yoga, there are eight limbs. The sixth limb, dharana, is a meditation practice that requires one-pointed focus. The idea is to choose an object or thought to concentrate on. When you do this kind of meditation regularly, your ability to concentrate improves. Good concentration will help your memory as well.
Choose Your Dristi
Dristi is a point of focus. In yoga poses that require balance, for example, using a focal point can help you stay in the pose. While you concentrate on one point, it’s easier to stay focused. Dristi, then, is an important tool for staying in the present moment and paying attention. It’s another way yoga can improve your memory, which depends on the ability to concentrate on something.
Certain Yoga Poses Can Improve Your Memory
You’ve probably noticed that yoga can improve your memory primarily by improving your concentration. Balancing poses, such as tree and warrior three are great ways to improve concentration.
Other poses that can help with memory are those that stimulate brain function. Forward bends and back bends have this benefit. By stimulating the nervous system, poses like standing forward fold or bridge pose can help clear the mind and improve your brain’s ability to remember things.
Inversions are also great for memory. When your feet are over your head, blood flows to the brain. With blood comes oxygen, which helps brain function and memory.
Deep Meditation for More Clarity
As you gain more experience with meditation, you will be able to reach deeper levels of concentration, creating even better mental capacity. As your brain power increases, your memory will also improve. This is one reason it’s important not to skip meditation at the end of yoga class.
Breathwork in yoga can improve your memory
If you practice pranayama—yogic breathing—you have yet another tool for improving memory. Breathing exercises increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. A well-oxygenated brain works better.
How to Design a Yoga Practice that Improves Memory
As we’ve seen, yoga can improve your memory if you practice specific poses, meditate regularly, and include pranayama in your routine. While this may seem like a lot, the truth is even a 20-minute daily practice can help improve your mind and memory. The key is to practice consistently.
Your yoga teacher or local studio is a great resource for learning more, not only about how yoga can improve your memory, but also about other ways you can tailor your yoga practice to improve well-being.