Get smarter with these three yoga techniques

Yoga is an ancient powerful system of personal development that works on both body and mind.

Body-focused yoga postures, called asanas, aim to influence our mind in specific ways to help us relax, improve focus and concentration, and improve cognitive performance. Therefore, a complete, effective and holistic yoga practice includes asanas, pranayama and meditation. Here are some techniques from each of these practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Surya Namaskar

Movement is essential for brain health and Sun Salutations give us 12 carefully coordinated postures that engage the whole body. One should practice at least six to 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar. You can increase the number to 108 if that motivates you.

Another way to progress is, once 12 rounds become easy, you increase the intensity by changing the poses to make them more difficult. Poses like Triangle Pose, Dancers Pose, and Spinal Twists make a great companion for Surya Namaskar and can also be included in your recovery.

To improve the mind-body connection and boost your Sun Salutation practice, you can start including mantras in every movement and do them with your eyes closed. This is best learned under the guidance of a teacher.

The 12 steps

1. Pranamasana (prayer pose)

2. Hastauttanasana (raised arms pose)

3. Hastapadasana (standing forward bend)

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

5. Dandasana (staff pose)

6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts or dots)

7. Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

10. Hastapadasana (standing forward bend)

11. Hastauttanasana (raised arms pose)

12. Tadasana (mountain pose)

Square/Equal Breathing or Sama Vritti Pranayama

The breath is immensely powerful; it gives us control over our physical health and also helps us calm an anxious or restless mind. Even a few deep breaths can instantly affect your mood and state of mind. Although there are many breathing techniques, the most universal is square or equal breathing.

In this method, there are four steps of equal duration. For example, you inhale for a count of four, then hold your breath for four, exhale for four, and hold your breath for four.

Over time, the count of four can be increased to eight and then to 16. If you are just starting out, another variation is equal breathing in which you only inhale and exhale for a count of four.

Gradually begin to introduce apneas until you develop the 16:16:16:16 box breathing ability.

These practices are enhanced by using visualization such as breathing in golden light or lighting a candle flame with each breath. It’s good to find a teacher to learn these methods.

Mantra meditation

This type of meditation is ideal for our current environment where we are constantly surrounded by distractions and frequently experience sensory overload. A mantra can be a word, a sentence or just a few syllables. It functions as an anchor and helps you resume your practice each time you wander off into the sea of ​​thoughts.

While some mantras are given by gurus, universal mantras like Om can be used by anyone for personal practice. If you are not comfortable with the mantra, you can use your breath as an object of meditation. So instead of a mantra, focus on your breath. Either way, your practice will be effective and meaningful.

To get the most out of your yoga practice, you need consistency, not intensity. Doing a little practice every day is far more powerful than doing a lot of practice once in a while. So if you only have 10 minutes in the morning, dedicate it to your breathing and your meditation practice. If you have 30 minutes, you can spend 15-20 minutes moving and the rest of the time doing mindfulness work. Ideally, try to keep at least 45 to 60 minutes for the three interventions (asana/movement of any kind, pranayama and meditation).

(Yoga and Ayurvedic Lifestyle Specialist, Founder, Yoganama)

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