Do you sometimes find it hard to stay alert, active, and attentive? You have so much on your plate to think about: school exams, homework, parents, friends, sports practice, band rehearsal, and more. Trying to keep track of all that you have to do can wear you down. Yes, you can gulp down a caffeinated drink or two to stay alert and productive, but what if you can find some other natural remedy to increase your stamina, motivation, and mental activity? (Ok…this might sound like a late-night infomercial you see on TV while you’re cramming for an exam, but hang on, you might find this interesting.) Yoga….yes, yoga…can help boost your energy and give you that mental recharge you need to stay mentally alert and improve overall performance.
Yoga, as you may already know, can improve your flexibility, mobility, your muscle strength and agility, reduce stress and anxiety, and research shows that yoga also can enhance your mind!
You may think that it would take some type of stimulant to recharge your brain. That’s not necessarily the case. A low-intensity and slow-moving exercise like yoga is shown to improve your brain health.
Yoga, which is an ancient philosophy and practice, is seen today in gyms, studios, and community centers where students move through various physical postures and sequences. Poses like Downward Facing Dog, Warrior 2, and Tree Pose are just a few of many yoga poses that not only stimulate the body, but also the brain in very effective ways.
Without getting too technical, practicing any style of yoga triggers a part of the brain that produces a pleasurable emotional response. When this part of the brain activates, there is a significant reduction to a fear or pain response. Further, practicing yoga also heightens mental actions like problem-solving, decision making, mood regulation, and memory due to the direct impact of yoga on your cortex. Why does this work? It has been researched that the combination of breathing and moving has a direct and positive relationship with your brain health.
If you add a simple yoga practice, only 30 minutes per day, can result in a boost in your mindfulness after about 10 weeks. You will notice that studying for an exam is less draining. You’ll remember better, you’ll feel calmer, and even have the mental energy to take on more responsibilities. And because you’ll be performing better mentally, you’ll also see improvements in your mood, getting along better with your friends and parents, and you’ll generally have a more positive outlook on life.
So, you may want to invest in a yoga mat and test this yourself. Getting on the mat to practice a few poses at least once a week will be doing your brain and mental health a very big favor.