No question, it can be difficult to transition back into school mode after the summer months. Did you know that a regular yoga practice is proven to improve concentration, focus, and overall wellbeing? Not only that, but yoga, meditation and mindfulness are known to relieve anxiety and depression, and be greatly beneficial to stress management.
We compiled some of our favourite easy yoga poses to improve brain power and study like a pro. If you or your kids are heading back to school this fall, try incorporating some of these into a daily routine!
1. Half Tortoise
This posture is said to be equivalent to an 8-hour sleep. With your head is below your heart in this pose, it's technically an inversion! So if you have trouble with inversions for any reason, Half-Tortoise is a great alternative to receive those calming benefits. By increasing cerebral blood flow, this pose provides maximum relaxation to the entire body and mind.
2. Balancing Stick
This posture works every muscle, stimulating the heart, improving balance and endurance. Best of all, it's great for enhancing memory and concentration.
3. Shoulder Stand
One of the most accessible inversions, this pose is known as the "queen of all yoga postures". It can be held for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Stimulating the thyroid gland, this pose relieves stress and depression by regulating hormone production. It has a soothing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system to help stabilize your mood and promote deep sleep.
4. Spine Twist
B.K.S. Iyengar describes spine twists as a "squeeze and soak" action; they compress organs and glands, and once released, allows clean, oxygenated blood to refresh the tissues. This action stimulates circulation and has a cleansing, healing effect. Opening up the shoulders, chest, and back releases stored tension which in turn decreases feelings of anxiety.
5. Downward Facing Dog
One of the most widely-recognised yoga poses, this one gives us an overall, rejuvenating stretch that improves brain function and cognition. With increased blood flow to the top of the body, down-dog gives you an energy boost and clears your mind. And finally, this posture also releases any tension in the neck and spine to prevent headaches and manage stress!
6. Seated or Standing Forward Bend
Forward bends are all about soothing your nerves. As it stretches and releases the entire backside of your body, it also allows for blood flow to the brain to relieve stress and fatigue. If you suffer from headaches, asthma, insomnia or anxiety, try incorporating forward bends into your daily life.
7. Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is a simple but extremely powerful practice we stand by to restore balance when things are overwhelming. It serves to regulate the flow of air through your nasal passages and restores balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain, clearing energetic channels. Learn how to do this breathing exercise here.