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Boost Your Memory With Yoga

Memory is the brain’s ability to catch, store and recall information. A person whose brain is efficient in these tasks is seen as bright and intelligent by society. Although it appears that some people have a great memory since childhood, it is not completely so. Memory can be sharpened at any stage in life, depending on the brain health and willingness of the individual. This article throws light on types of memory, the brain and its connection with the body, and effective yoga practices to boost memory.

Introduction

When we were younger, we were not rewarded if we could recite multiplication tables in the school but we were punished if we couldn’t. In college, we were expected to submit all assignments in time, and were held responsible for our own loss if we forgot to do so. And today, we must always remember to carry and wear our face masks. Sometimes we can’t recognize our classmates from school while they still can recognize us and even remember some events. But, we do not forget how to ride a bicycle if we learn it once. Why? All these incidents require our memory to be alright. Memory is a function of the brain, along with many other functions it performs. Memory makes life easy since it gets us recognition, importance and appreciation among our colleagues, family, friends and the society.
Yoga Tips To Enhance Memory

Types of Memory

Read the events described in the previous section again. Remembering multiplication tables and recognizing friends requires repetition and when repetition ceases, we tend to forget those images or sounds. These events are spread over years, and are part of our Long - term memory.

Sometimes, while getting ready for work, you take out a fresh face mask and put it on the counter or the dining table but you still forget to wear it while stepping out. This all happened over a short period of time; it is called short - term memory.

The activities we do not forget the way to do, like how to light up a cigarette, how to use a spoon, how to sip water, how to ride a cycle, or how to close the door are examples of skill memory.

The Human Brain

The brain has three parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the medulla. The cerebrum is the biggest, the cerebellum quite small and the medulla is a stem connecting the brain with the spinal cord. The functions of speech, language, hearing, detecting smells, differentiating touch, memory, learning and emotion are performed by the cerebrum. It is divided into two halves vertically; the right half and the left half. They are joined together and to the rest of the body by nerves.

How The Brain is Connected With The Body

Our body is symmetrical at both sides; we have two eyes, two ears, two arms and legs, two lungs, two buttocks, etc. And two halves of the brain! The right part of the cerebrum controls the functioning of the left side of the body. Similarly, the left side of the cerebrum controls the functioning of the right side of the body. When you use your right hand for writing, the left side of the brain is managing it. When you use your left hand to close the door, the right side of your brain is managing it. This is the reason why similar repetitions of exercises are advised to be done with both sides of the body. Exercise no. 3 mentioned in the next section is especially effective in balancing the functioning of both the hemispheres of the brain.

Yoga For Boosting Memory

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Bandha Hasta Utthanasana

Bandha Hasta Utthanasana is an easy and effective exercise for circulating oxygen in the whole body, especially the brain. It doesn’t require a mat/ carpet.

  • Stand straight with the feet together in a neutral position.
  • Both the feet should share the body weight equally.
  • Put one wrist on the other such that they form a cross with each other.
  • Raise the arms and move the crossed wrists above the head.
  • Inhale and bend the head backwards to look at the hands.
  • Release the crossed wrists.
  • Now straighten the arms at the sides slowly.
  • Bring the arms down and place the wrists in a crossed position as earlier.
  • Practice it 10 times.

Utthita Dolasana

This asana works on the nerves and sends energy circulation through them to the brain and the spinal cord. It is especially good for the brain and provides the benefits of advanced asanas. It also doesn’t require a mat/ carpet.

  • Stand straight with the feet wide spread.
  • Raise the arms above the head and keep them straight.
  • Leave the wrists loose.
  • Now bend forward and move in a swinging motion.
  • The upper body and the arms should move like a lifeless doll.
  • Slowly, return to standing position.
  • Practice 10 repetitions.

Vrikshasana

This pose is a great practice for balancing both the cerebral portions. It doesn’t require any mat/ carpet, but should be practiced preferably just after waking up.

  • Stand with both feet sharing equal weight of the body.
  • Close the eyes gently.
  • Place the heel of the right foot on the inner side of the left thigh.
  • Simultaneously, raise both arms and join both hands overhead in a Namaste.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Bring the arms down and release the pose.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Trataka Kriya

This practice is meant for improving concentration and vitalizing the brain. With serious practice, it shall bring enormous powers to the brain which should be accepted by the individual as by -products of the practice. It also prepares you for meditation. During the initial practices, it is recommended that Trataka be done under guidance of an expert. It may bring memories from the subconscious and the unconscious mind. All incidences and visualizations, pleasant as well as unpleasant during or after should be reported to the guru.

  • Light a candle.
  • Place it on a surface so that when you sit with the back straight, it is at eye level.
  • Sit such that the flame of the candle is equidistant and in the centre of both the eyes.
  • Gaze at the tip of the flame without blinking.
  • Tears will appear in the eyes.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Watch the image of the flame with closed eyes.
  • Again open the eyes and gaze at the flame.
  • Practice twice or thrice.
  • After the final round, rub both palms vigorously and place them on the eyes.
  • Open the eyes or go to sleep or meditation.

Other Tips

Some practices help the brain perform better. They are like strength training for the brain. These are especially effective for young people.

  1. Get plenty of sleep. During sleep, our brain keeps the rest of the body aside and sorts out its own matters. It organizes new memories and decides whether to store or discard them.
  2. Memorize important information by revising it. If you wish to remind yourself of paying a challan amount before the weekend, keep reminding yourself about it after every few hours until you get it done.
  3. Test and ask questions. If you are trying to teach your kid some new concept, ask them about it later in the day and then after a few days. In this way they will not forget it.
  4. Involve various attributes of an event or an object to remember its details. Like while trying to remember the name of a new dish, remember it like “it was named bharta and it had many seeds in it”.
  5. Eat a balanced diet. The brain requires good quality carbohydrates to function. So, do not restrict them, being convinced by any trending diet.

Conclusion

Like the rest of the body can be trained to perform better; the brain can also be trained; because brain is also a body organ. Its functions like creativity, memory, reasoning, emotions, and understanding can be made better if we understand how the brain works. The exercises described here do not only improve memory but all functions of the brain. These are therapeutic as well as preventive for mental illnesses. However, the recommended practices shall vary depending on each individual’s condition. The practices with the word ‘Kriya’ in their names are cleansing practices and should be done under guidance and supervision of a competent yoga therapist.
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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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