27 Jan 2 big ways yoga improves focus and concentration
Yoga is a fantastic mind body exercise that focuses on building strength and flexibility and using controlled breathing to enhance both physical and mental wellbeing. Having a regular yoga practice can benefit your body in a variety of positive ways, including reducing stress, improving sleep and beating depression.
However, regular yoga practice also works in two important ways to improve focus and concentration. At our yoga retreats with digital detox we encourage our guests to take part in daily yoga practice so that they can experience for themselves improvements in brain function after a surprisingly short period of time.
Yoga increases blood circulation to the brain
Blood circulation is important in order for the body to function properly. The more substantial our blood circulation, the stronger our heart and the healthier our body. Having poor blood circulation can lead to a lack of energy and high blood pressure.
Yoga specifically benefits the circulatory system as the stretching during yoga poses helps to rejuvenate and oxygenate the blood and push nutrients to the vessels and capillaries through pranayama – the practice of yoga breathing.
During the concentrated breathing during yoga the diaphragm is pulled down, increasing the pressure in the abdomen and causing the compression of abdominal veins. This pushes blood towards the chest and into the heart, allowing better circulation.
Practicing yoga postures which involve inversions, such as headstand and shoulder stand, also helps to increase blood circulation to the brain. Improved blood circulation means the brain receives more oxygen, thus increasing alertness, awareness and memory.
Yoga immediately stimulates brain function
Research shows that even a very short period of yoga practice can have immediate effects on the brain. In a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health 20 young female students participated in 20 minutes of yoga followed by meditation and deep breathing, and then followed that with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.
The researchers carried out cognitive testing on the participants after each session to test their cerebral capabilities such as knowledge, attention, memory and judgment. The results showed that the cognitive scores were higher in the women that had participated in yoga, than those who did not.
The tests highlighted that after just one 20 minute yoga session participants were able to focus better, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively.
Just two unexpected ways that yoga works on the brain. On our digital detox and yoga retreats we offer all our guests the chance to take part in two daily yoga sessions so that they can experience some of these incredible benefits for themselves.