Did you know yoga can help boost your mental performance? As well as making your body more flexible and strong, regular yoga enhances mental well-being by reducing stress and improving focus.
Yoga expert and owner of Cultivate Calm Yoga Studio, Monica Rottmann, said yoga calmed your nervous system through a combination of the poses, breath work and mindfulness.
"This is incredibly calming and relaxing as opposed to just going to the gym or for a walk," she said. "Stress impairs our thinking. We don't think our best when our mind is cluttered. "Calming the nervous system is important, because when we are stressed our intelligent brain shuts down and our fear centre takes over, causing us to have more negative and fearful thoughts and a lot more thoughts generally. It feels like brain clutter. "When our nervous system is calm our executive function of the brain is in charge, the pre-frontal cortex, and our thoughts are naturally calmer and more positive, giving us greater perspective."
What Yoga Poses are Best for Boosting Mental Performance? Any yoga practice can have a positive impact on cognition. But if you need to sharpen your focus, some poses are better than others. If you need to improve mental performance, try these:
1. Child's pose (Balasana) When we're stressed, our minds are besieged by countless voices, all competing for our attention. To assess and prioritise, we must first quiet our minds.
Kneel on the floor with your head down in front and hips sitting back onto the heels. This helps calm the mind by folding inwards and lowers the head below the heart which calms the nervous system.
2. Constructive Rest Pose
Lay on your back with your knees bent. This softens and releases our psoas muscle, which is one of the primary muscles that contracts when we are stressed. Increase the length of your exhale compared to when you inhale as this sends a message to the nervous system that we are safe and can unwind. When you are feeling really stressed, breath in for a count of two, exhale for a count of four for two to five minutes. 3. Down Dog The popular Down Dog provides the benefit of being upside, helps build focus and is easy for beginners. Kneel on all floors, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back to create an upside down V shape. Hold for around a minute. 4. Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani) This is a great pose for stress reduction and insomnia and really helps to calm the mind. It's easy and relaxing, and helps lower the blood pressure and bring circulation through the heart. Lie on your back and place your legs up a wall to elevate them, and hold for about five minutes. Monica Rottmann is the Founder of Cultivate Calm Yoga, a Yoga and Meditation Teacher, NLP Coach and Business Mentor. Find out more: https://cultivatecalmyoga.com.au/monica/