Some people are born with an internal compass. And then there’s me. I used to joke that if you spun me around, I could get lost in my driveway. I spent my first few weeks of high school hanging out with the wayward crowd and getting sent to the in-school suspension room for skipping classes. The truth was, I just couldn’t find them — at least not before the bell rang. Ah, well, I did get to paint my nails while the other kids had to crack books in class. So getting lost is not all bad, and after many years of wrong turns, wasted gas and chronic tardiness, I learned to do a few things before traveling:
- Allow extra time for any “mishaps.”
- Take a friend whenever possible, preferably someone with an actual sense of direction.
- Always trust my instincts …they’re dead wrong, so I do the opposite (turn right when I think left, and vice versa).
Enter yoga… Oh how I love my asanas. They make me graceful, flexible, fierce, and give me an excuse to wear yoga pants every day of the week. But yoga also makes me mindful, more focused, and able to find my way home — most of the time. Here’s what science has to say about that…
5 Ways Yoga Makes Your Mind Sharper
- Yoga stimulates brain function and is shown to help in areas of memory and inhibitory control; it helps practitioners focus and retain and use new information. A study following 30 subjects who took working memory tests showed that those who practiced yoga for just 20 minutes were significantly faster and more accurate on their tests than those who did other aerobic activity for the same amount of time. More in-depth research findings appear in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
- “Yoga keeps distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath,” said lead researcher Neha Gothe.“Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities”
- Yoga helps you relax and think more clearly. Let’s face it, having too much clutter in the brain can make us forgetful and anxious.
- Yoga improves sleep. Better sleep means more brain power, energy, and beauty too (goodbye, dark under-eye circles!).
- Yoga improves blood flow to the brain. Yoga aides the circulatory system, and certain poses are particulalry helpful for bringing fresh blood and oxygen to the brain. Inversions such as the basic downward dog and forward fold are some examples.
While it’s nice to see that science agrees, I didn’t need clinical documentation to tell me that yoga makes my mind sharper. It helps me find my way in life and in my city, too.
Mantra: Yoga nourishes my spirit and mind.