in depth


Exercise Your Mind

Maintain Mental Prowess

One of the myths of aging is the inevitability of losing your mental prowess. The good news is that there are there are a variety of things you can do to create a long-term positive effect on the health of your mind and memory. In this article I’ve outlined just a few of the ways to yogically strengthen your brain.

Get out and about: A strong mind comes from having a life of rich complexity and diversity. Your brain creates new neural pathways to compensate for dying brain cells, as long as you keep learning and doing new things. Known as neuroplasticity, the brain, given the right environment, can evolve and change throughout your entire life.

Tip—Walk backwards. This exercise boosts the brain and burns more calories than walking forward. Since walking backward is a “neurobic” activity, it can cause new neural connections to grow in the brain. So, take a backward walk!

Get brain fit: There’s even more good news—it’s called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the process whereby the brain produces new nerve cells in some of the areas of the brain that relate to memory. Research indicates that exercise stimulates neurogenesis. Studies suggest that regular exercise delivers more oxygen-rich blood to the brain, along with a chemical called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor,” to enhance memory.

Tip—Do yoga sets that include hand movements whenever possible. In yoga, these movements are called mudras. These movements directly map to areas of the brain governing functions that relate to cognitive ability. Yoga sets that include mudras give you a double-dose of brain fitness.

Nutrition: The brain accounts for two percent of your body weight, but demands approximately 20% of your daily calories. Your brain requires a constant supply of glucose, mostly obtained from carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and grains. The healthier your diet, the better your brain!

Tip—Eat brain-supporting legumes, kidney-beans, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Learning, exercising and good nutrition all help to keep your brain young, vital and resilient. Use these tools to stay sharp-witted throughout your life.

Meditation to Become Sharpwitted Meditation to Become Sharpwitted (295 KB)

Lola Scarborough (Sat Avtar)
Yoga Lola Studios

Recommended: SuperBrain Yoga by Master Choa Kok Sui and Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Daniel G. Amen M.D.


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