Saturday, December 11, 2010

Exercises to Enhance Memory

Memory is a tricky thing, isn’t it? It has a way of bailing on us when we need it the most. And as we get older, it only gets worse! But did you know that exercise could change that? Here are some yoga asanas that will help stimulate your brain and nervous system and in turn improve your memory.MediationMeditation improves your concentration and helps you remember things better. “Sit quietly in a comfortable position and count backwards from 50,” says yoga instructor Payal Gidwani-Tiwari. You can start counting from 100 and even 200 with practice.Another form of meditation you can try is Dharana. “Dharana helps you de-clutter your mind,” Payal says. This form of meditation involves focusing your attention and not letting it wander. It can be done by either concentrating on your breathing or by concentrating on the centre of your head.“Pranayam also helps you think better and improves your ability to remember better as it increases the supply of oxygen to your brain,” says Bhavin Thakkar, an instructor of artistic yoga. Pranaym is a kind of breathing technique practised in yoga.You could also try yogamudra or padmasana for better memory. For this, place your hands on your knees with your palms facing upwards and join your index finger to your thumb. Just close your eyes and focus on your breathing.Upavitha konasana (wide legged forward bend)1) Stand with your feet three feet apart and your heels pointing outwards.
2) Now bend forward with a straight back to touch your palm to the ground. If it is your first time, go as far as you can and hold the position. 3) Now get your torso closer to yourself with your palms on your knees and your elbows jutting out. Hold for about five to 10 seconds and slowly return to your original position.SirshasanaTo get to sirshasana, you need to assume balasana or the child’s pose. Here’s how:
1) Sit in vajrasana or on your feet with your knees pointing forward.2) Part your legs slightly and bend your torso forward with your hands outstretched or on your sides, to touch the ground. This is balasana.3) Now hold your elbows with your hands. Place the top of your head on the ground with the back of your head resting against your arms.4) Slowly straighten your knees, raise your hips and your legs to form a ‘V’ in the air.5) Now slowly bend your knees close to your chest so that your feet are near your buttocks and balance yourself using your hips.6) Now raise your legs. When you are in the headstand position, try and relax.
“Make sure 90 per cent of your weight is supported by your arms and elbows and just 10 per cent by your head,” says Bhavin.Viparit karni asana
This is a variation of the sarvangasana. "In this asana, istead of raising your legs to form a 90-degree angle, you make a 60-degree angle with or without the support of a wall,” he explains.1) Lie down on your back.2) Slowly raise your legs and your hips off the ground to form a 60-degree angle with the ground. Support your hips with your hands as you do this.3) Hold for up to ten seconds and return to original position.
(The above yogic poses improve blood circulation to the brain and the heart and helps enhance memory.) Make sure you do all the above asanas under supervision of a yoga trainer.


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