Hatha Yoga, mindfulness meditation, boosts brain functioning


Yoga forms

Hatha yoga is a combination of asanas, pranayams and meditation. Practise of Hatha Yoga for a minimum of 25 minutes daily, coupled with mindfulness meditation, boosts brain functioning and energy levels significantly, as per latest study.

The study showed that Hatha Yoga, together with mindfulness meditation improved the brain’s executive functions, cognitive abilities linked to goal-directed behaviour and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions.

Hatha Yoga and mindfulness meditation, both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing, and also reduces processing of nonessential information, said Peter Hall, the Associate Professor at Canadian University. These two functions help people to focus better on what they choose to attend in daily life.

Hatha Yoga is one of the most common styles of yoga practised in the west, which involves physical postures and breathing exercises, combined with meditation.

Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing on thoughts, emotions and body sensations with openness and acceptance.

In the study, the participants completed 25 minutes of Hatha Yoga, mindfulness meditation and quiet reading in randomised order. It was found that Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation considerable improved their energy levels. However, Hatha Yoga significantly had more powerful effects than meditation alone.

Ayurvedic herbs to boost brain functioning

‘Shankapushpi’ is considered one of the best herbs for supporting brain and mental functioning. It improves memory, calms the mind and is believed to improve tolerance to mental stress. Therefore, this herb is often considered to be the giver of great mental power and bliss.

‘Brahmi’ helps in keeping the mind calm and balanced. Several scientific studies have shown that Brahmi can improve learning and memory, while also providing antioxidant support for the brain.

‘Gotu Kola’ is considered one of the best herbs in improving memory. Likewise, Gotu Kola also contains an acid that is a potent inhibitor for formation of amyloid plaques, otherwise seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Some foods to boost brain functioning:

A handful of seeds and nuts, eaten daily increases brain power considerably. The pumpkin seeds, for instance, are loaded with zinc that play a vital role in sharpening your memory. Walnuts, which are a rich source of omega-3 also has essential nutrients for brain functioning and improving memory skills.

Black currants, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, peanuts, and all foods rich in vitamin C and B can boost your brain power.

It is said that berries when eaten regularly helps in delaying age-related memory decline. On consuming wholegrains, energy is released in the body in the form of sugar, which helps our brain to function properly.