Does Yoga Help To Improve Students Concentration?
Your most common problems as a student are – difficulty in recalling what you’ve studied in the last session, lack of sleep and hence decrease in stamina to work hard and lack of concentration. This is the time when you need to keep patience and remain calm. In such situations, yoga comes for your rescue and you need to rely solely upon it.
If you ask an aspiring student to name a single thing which can get him excellent grades, his most effortless answer would be “Concentration”.
“Concentration or focus of mind is the ultimate instrument which has potential to turns an average student into an achiever”.
Can Yoga Play a crucial role in achieving the highest level of concentration?
Let’s discuss here what makes yoga the one and the only one, the most powerful instrument to achieve the desired level of concentration.
What Are You Going To Explore in “yoga for student concentration”
In case, I simply explain to you that how yoga can make you a study champion by simply placing some of the yoga poses in pictures and then -How to do sequences for them. But then I am pretty sure that It won’t be enough to “quench your logical thirst”. At least, when I put myself in your place, I will never believe things written on any platform, if not supported by some statistics and solid proof.
So read each and every point carefully until the end of the post. And then, when you find everything at the place and quite convincing, follow it and feel the changes in your thinking about brain functioning.
You are going to explore the following important points
- Yoga and Brain Concentration association
2. Brain anatomy in brief
3. Yoga Poses for brain health and concentration
4. Proven studying methods and valuable learning tips
5. Some more unusual and extremely helpful suggestions
1.Yoga and Brain Concentration association
According to Maharishi Patanjali, the great Indian sage and the composer of Yoga Sutras –
“Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha– महर्षि पतंजलि ने योग को ‘चित्त की वृत्तियों के निरोध’ के रूप में परिभाषित किया है(Hindi)
Which means yoga reduces the fluctuations of your mind. Yoga neutralizes whirlpool of feelings by flushing out the emotional clutter from your mind and helps you concentrate better.
The ancient yogis believed in the magical powers of yoga and the potential to improve concentration. Later, research added authenticity to their claim with science and logic.
Previous research has shown the vast mental and physical health benefits associated with yoga. Yoga practice can be divided into subcategories that include posture-holding exercise (asana), breathing (pranayama, Kriya), and meditation (Sahaj) practice. Studies measuring mental health outcomes have shown decreases in anxiety, and increases in cognitive performance after yoga interventions. Similar studies have also shown cognitive advantages amongst yoga practitioners versus non-practitioners.
The mental health and cognitive benefits of yoga are evident. It was further concluded that breathing, meditation, and posture-based yoga increased overall brain wave activity. Increase in grey matter along with an increase in the amygdala and frontal cortex activation was evident after a yoga intervention. Yoga practice may be an effective treatment for a clinical and healthy aging population. Further research can examine the effects of specific branches of yoga on a designated clinical population. (NCBI)
2. Brain anatomy in brief
The human brain is the central organ of the human nervous system, and in association with the spinal cord, makes up the central nervous system. The brain consists of the cerebrum, the brainstem, and the cerebellum. It controls most of the activities of the body, processing, integrating, and coordinating the information it receives from the sense organs and making decisions as to the instructions sent to the rest of the body. The brain is contained in, and protected by, the skull bones of the head. The cerebrum is the largest part of the human brain. It is divided into two cerebral hemispheres. The cerebral cortex is an outer layer of grey matter.
Hence Brain is a muscle, which like any other body parts needs exercise for proper functioning. Yoga is the best form of exercise to improve brain function. Stress and anxiety can cause your brain to malfunction, and that is what yoga can help to avert. Yoga regulates the vagus nerve -the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system in the human body, that deals with your body’s mood and stress levels. It differs from other brain improving exercises in its ability to facilitate proper breathing patterns that help a great deal in calming your body and invigorating your mind.
3. Yoga Poses for Student’s brain health and concentration
When you bring, “your body, which was born in the past” and “your brain, which mostly roams in future”, both together at present, the highest level of concentration is achieved. This is what yoga accomplishes.
All the yoga poses do the job of bringing our mind and body together. But the biggest challenge, you as a student may face is Time Management. Attending your classes, assignments, revisions, relaxation and many others. You will hardly have time for yourself or practice yoga for your mental well being. But your failing in this is, failing in achieving an increased mental level, which is necessary to make you efficient enough to manage every hardship of your student life.
So I am here to demolish every wall between you and your yoga practices. And I will do this, just by customizing yoga as per your need. This will give you a headstart to just jumpstart.
Start with These Yoga poses, Pranayam and meditation all in 25 minutes
1. Tree Pose ( Vriksha Asan)
Vriksha= Tree; Asan= Pose
As you would have realized by the name Tree Pose, You have to stand stable just like a tree, So your leg, just one of the two, will constitute as the trunk of the tree. The Other leg and hands are positioned to take the shape of a tree.
I am simply trying to explain to you that you have to stand on one leg and keep balance and keep breathing. And this is the way you are going to increase your concentration level. If you don’t, you may lose your balance.
- Make a dot in front of you, so that while standing straight the dot is making a straight line through your eyes.
- Keep your gaze to this point, this helps you greatly to make balance on one leg.
- Inhale and patiently raise up one leg, keep your ‘raised leg’ toes in parallel to another leg.
- Rest your leg just above the knees of another leg.
- Exhale while resting on this pose.
- Initially try the tree pose near a wall so that when you start shaking up, the wall will come to your rescue.
- Start from 30 seconds of balance then go up to 3 minutes.
2. Sun Salutation ( surya namaskar)
Surya = Sun ; Namaskar= Salutation
सूर्यनमस्कार or Sun Salutation is a Yoga practice incorporating a sequence of gracefully linked asanas. The nomenclature refers to the symbolism of Sun as the soul and the source of all life. This yoga cycle provides a great cardiovascular workout. Its root is in India where there are many worshippers of Surya, considering Sun as a deity.
The solar plexus is the central point of the human body. It is just behind the navel and connects with the Sun. This is the main reason why we must practice Surya Namaskar in the morning. The regular practices of Surya Namaskar can boost the solar plexus. Which results in increased vitality, confidence and brain functioning.
Surya Namaskar is the most versatile yoga cycle comprising 12 yoga postures. This is the most energizing technique of yoga because it influences most of the body organs-internal as well as external. It increases the flow of blood in the body. Its regular practice develops strength, stability and the flexibility of mind and body.
The de-stressing powers of Surya Namaskar, strengthen your immune system and keeps illnesses at bay.
Description of Surya Namaskar Poses
1. Pranamasana –The Prayer Pose
Pranam = Prayer; Asana = Pose
Best known as prayer pose, Pranamasana is the first pose of the Surya Namaskar.
How to do-
- Stand upright on your mat with your both feet closely aligned.
- Inhale deeply, expand your chest while keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- Raise your arms while inhaling.
- Bring your palms together, in front of your chest as you do for “Namaste”, and exhale
2. Hastauttanasana- The Raised arms pose
Hastan = Arm; Uttan = Raised
Hastauttanasana loosens up your body by stretching the entire body backward while standing at the tips of the toes.
- From the previous Namaste pose, lift your arms up while inhaling and bend backward slightly.
- Your arms should lie close to your ears.
3. Hasta Padasana – Hand to foot pose
Hasta = Hand; Pada = Foot
- Next, breathe out, and bend forward from the crease of your hips.
- Bend down and touch your toes while keeping your spine erect.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana- Equestrian pose
Equestrian pose is a low lunging pose of the sun salutation sequence. One leg is stepped back, with the hands on the floor on either side of the front foot. The back knee usually rests on the ground and the head and gaze are lifted. Some say the eyes should be rolled upwards in this posture.
Equestrian pose requires flexibility and openness in the hip flexor of the back leg. It helps build strength and flexibility in the legs.
The Sanskrit name for the equestrian pose is ashwa sanchalanasana.
How to do
- Next breathe in, and stretch your body while aligning parallel to the ground.
- Keep your hands to the side, and bring your right knee forward towards the right part of the chest.
- Let your left leg stretch behind.
Dandasana – Stick Pose
- Fling your right leg backwards along with the left leg, while inhaling.
- Align your entire body parallel to the ground just as in high plank.
Ashtanga Namaskara – Salute with eight parts or points
- This is the eight-point salutation given by eight parts.
- While exhaling, make a transition from the Dandasana and gently bring down your knees towards the floor.
- Bring your chin in contact with the floor, keep your hips elevated upward.
- At this point, your eight parts viz. two hands, two knees, chin, and chest will rest on the floor, whereas your hips stay elevated upward.
Bhujangasana-The Cobra Pose
This pose gives you a perfect back bend while you lie on your stomach. When done correctly, it can gradually bring flexibility and strength to the entire spine.
- Lie down on your stomach, keeping spine elongated.
- Bring both of your hands just below your shoulders.
- Gradually, try to bring your upper half upward by applying pressure on the pelvis.
- Don’t push too much and too hard upon your hands. let your spine do the job.
Parvatasana-Downward-facing Dog pose
Take transition from cobra pose to the parvatasana. Keep your palm and feet where they are, and slowly raise your mid-section and make an inverted ‘ V’. Breathe out as you enter parvatasana.
Ashwa Sanchalanasana – Equestrian Pose
- From Parvatasana, transition back to the ashwa sanchalanasana.
- But this time, we bring right foot forward whereas resting the left foot behind.
Hasta Padasana- Hand to foot pose
- Gradually bring your left foot forward, next to the right foot while exhaling.
- Keeping your hands in the previous position.
- Get up gradually to enter Hasta Padasana.
Hastauttanasana- The Raised arms pose
- Next, inhale, raise your hands upward, and bend backward to get into the Hastauttanasana.
Pranama asana – The Prayer Pose
- Finally, exhale and stand in a relaxed manner in the ‘Namaste’.
- Feel the positive vibes entering into your body.
- This is how you complete one repetition of Surya Namaskar.
- To render maximum benefits from this Holistic yoga cycle you need to complete twelve repetitions. But not from day one.
–>Start with two cycles; gradually try to be perfect in fifteen days.
–>Preferably, try to do in the morning on empty stomach.
3. Bhramari Pranayam
Bhramari Pranayam is one of the great breathing exercises to release the mental tension, anxiety, frustration and anger. This simple breathing technique can be practised anywhere at work or home, it is an instant solution to de-stress yourself.
Bhramari Pranayama is derived from the Hindi word “Bhramar” which means Bumble Bee and the meaning of Pranayama is breathing technique, also called ‘bee breath’. Bhramari Pranayama enables to reduce fatigue and mental stress. This Pranayama does wonder for our ears, nose, mouth, and eyes.
HOW TO DO BHRAMARI PRANAYAM
- Set comfortably in Padmasana,
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply.·
- Now close your ears lids using your thumbs.·
- Place your index finger just above your eyebrows and the middle fingers over your eyes.
- Applying very gentle pressure using your little finger to the sides of your nose.·
- Now concentrate your mind on the area between your eyebrows.·
- Keep your mouth closed; breath out slowly through your nose with making a humming sound of Om.·
- Repeat this process for 5 times.
- Try your best to assume that you are being connected to all the positive energies of the universe.
- This is the best method to achieve the awareness of mind.
- It clears all the obstructions of mind and gives a feeling of happiness to mind.
- Helpful in relieving hypertension.
- It relaxes the mind by lowering stress and anxiety
Bhramari relieves stress and tension, helps in alleviating anger, anxiety, and insomnia, increasing the healing capacity of the body. It strengthens and improves the tone of voice. Bhramari induces a meditative state by balancing the mind and directing the awareness inward. The vibration of the humming sound creates a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system
Yoga Nidra commonly known as yogic sleep is an immensely powerful mind and body relaxation technique, and one of the easiest yoga practices to be implemented by all.
You need to know Shavasana (corpse pose), for this systematic relaxation techniques. By a guided voice command you are directed towards the panch Maya Kosa(five layers of self). You need to scan your body by parts, use each sense organ like hear, smell, taste, see and touch while focusing on your breath.
HOW TO DO YOGANIDRA:
Get into a comfortable resting position, where you feel safe and free from distraction. Then close your eyes and tune into this 10-minute yoganidra practice:
Play a soul pleasing music without lyrics or a guided meditation track.
For more specific yoganidra playlist, there are yoganidra scripts available and I like” Elena Browers 10 minutes yoganidra script”.
And this one you would love if want to get completely immersed in the marvels of the YOGNIDRA.
Improved immune System-A Bonus of Your Yoga Practises
Our immune system defends us from any potential attack from the harmful viruses and bacteria. The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs. Its becomes prominent when our body is under attack of any harmful element and plays a vital role in its protection.
Yoga improves your immune system. For any system to work efficiently, balance and stability are crucial. And same is the case with our immune system. So when some form of imbalances enters, the immune system becomes unstable.
Yoga gives a holistic treatment to your body and works great in busting the stress levels, the main reason behind a weak immune system. The above-discussed yoga practices will keep your immune system healthy and prevent you from falling ill frequently.
4. Proven studying methods and valuable learning tips
1. Make a distraction-free study room
You would agree with me that it requires an Everest of willpower to resist if you get something else other than your study material. It may be a piece of newspaper( even the old will do), a magazine or a novel or a smartphone (marvelous). In case you get hold of anything other than your course book, you are sure to stick with it in no time!
So remove everything, I say everything other than your books from your room.
2. Meditate just before starting to study
Just sitting on your chair, close your eyes and focus on the breath.
By observing your breath, you slow down the breathing process, which in turn calms your mind and transform into a peaceful state. This will refresh your thinking and understanding process.
Calmness and deep focus increases your cosmic energy. This form of energy elevates your self-confidence. Calmness prevents your energy to be scattered. This is what you need to learn most of your vast syllabus.
3. glue your chair and sit on it
You need to motivate yourself to start studying. Just starting is a major obstacle as in most of the other cases, you simply take too much time to be seated in your study chair. Try your best to grab your books and get, set go! Further, spend some time with your books, in order to understand your chapter better.
4. Study Musical
You can use music to block out noise or to simply create a more relaxing and pleasing study environment. But only right kind of music is going to work in this case. Preferably go for a just music with no lyrics. Lyrics may make you engaged with the words processing and may divert your focus.
5. Study in open
If you are learning your lesson inside a room and not very happy with your progress, think about it. Maybe you need some fresh breeze and natural light to stimulate your brain’s learning abilities. So come out of your room when you stuck in your math problem so that your brain oxygenates and increases its problem-solving capacity.
6. Go to bed with a problem!?
What I am not saying is to go to your bed with a problematic-problem and spoil your sleep. I am saying that if you have your subject problem and find it hard, then sleep with it in your mind. Then let your brain find the solution! Studies have shown that brain neurons are active in the sleep and busy making problem -solving circuits!!
5. Some more unusual and extremely helpful suggestions for concentrating and understanding your lesson better
1.Convert abstract things into living
Pythagoras = Python!
You never got bored with Harry Potter. It is thrilling, entertaining and can be visualised. While studying subjects viz. Maths and Science, things are really hard to visualize, the main reason you are not developing the interest in them.
So If you try to visualize your math, science or any other abstract terms, It would be far easier to understand and recall later.
2. Concentrate with the candle flame
Physiotherapists rely on this method of concentration. Burn a candle and put it in front of you so that you sit erect. Switch off light and fan. Stare the tip of the flaming-candle, keep breathing softly (you don’t want to blow the flame off), slightly close your eyes. Focus between your eyebrows. You are likely to see the flame even with eyes closed! Open your eyes when you feel.
3. concentrate on the black hole
The black hole is said to attract the universe into it. So why can’t you make it attract all your tensions, fears and confusions? Take a white paper make a circle approximately 5 cm diameter. Use crayons or watercolours to make it the perfect black body.
Stare and think all the negativity absorbed by this black body! And it really works.
Conclusions on student concentration
There are so many proven and tested things which I can write here to benefit your level of concentration or you can google on your own. But just reading and knowing all of them does not help you, but following them systematically will certainly do!
Always Keep your brain greased and nourished
Another Most important thing, you as a student should never miss is the Proper nourishment. You should eat a balanced diet that elders always compelled you. But did you really cared? If yes, then you are already a winner, if not then pay attention! In short, never forget to-
- Drink 10 glass of water and stay hydrated.
- Your brain is the biggest consumer of calories so eat appropriately.
However, there are certain foods called brain food which is really good for your brain. I have talked about it in my book which is published now! This book has one more secret ingredient to get a Crane’s Concentration! So go ahead and check in the Amazon.