As we age, our brain slows down and our concentration level begins to drop. But its not just ageing that makes our concentration lag. Stress too plays a major role. Fortunately, this does not mean the onset of dementia! With yoga, you can jump start your brain again! Yoga helps to slow down your pace. The moment you learn to relax your mind and body, the mind steers away from the clutter and you are able to think more clearly. The clearer your thinking is, the better your concentration levels will be. The 10 yoga exercises for concentration I have listed here have helped me to a great extent. I feel younger and fresher. Why don’t you give them a try too?
I have divided the yoga exercises into seated, standing, and reclining poses. While seated poses are more commonly used for meditation purposes, you can improve your concentration while trying to balance your body and even while lying down. I have also included breathing techniques for better memory and concentration skills.
Yoga for Concentration – 12 Best Yoga Exercises
Seated Yoga Exercises for Concentration:
1. Padmasana – Lotus Pose:
This is one of the simplest and easiest poses that are often taught when you start practicing yoga.
How to do:
- Sit erect, cross-legged, left foot resting on your right thigh and right foot on left thigh.
- Close your eyes and with deep inhalations and exhalations, try to relax.
- The focus should only be on your breathing.
- Sit until you feel completely at peace.
Practice this pose for 10 minutes to begin with, slowly increasing the duration. As you develop expertise in the pose, you will find your concentration levels pepping up slowly.
- If you are a beginner, then you could try counting from 200 to 1 slowly, without making any mistake. One mistake, and you’ll need to start from the beginning. By doing so, you will be able to channelize your thoughts in a single direction.
- If you are a newbie or if you have a knee problem, opt for the Half Lotus Pose – Ardha Padmasana,where only one foot rests on the alternate thigh.
2. Parvatasana – Seated Mountain Pose:
How to do:
- Sit on the floor, cross-legged, spine erect.
- Taking a deep inhalation, lift your hands overhead in Namaskar Mudra. Lift your eyes to fix your gaze at the fingertips. Or just close your eyes and try to focus your mind on your breathing.
- Sit until you feel completely relaxed while breathing normally.
This calming pose creates awareness about your breathing pattern and improves your concentration. Start with 5 minutes a day and graduate to half an hour a day for a better spine and concentration.
- If you are suffering from knee injuries or chronic acute back pain, then sit on a chair with back support.
- Sit with your back resting on the wall.
3. Virasana – Hero Pose:
This simple pose is often adopted by people who find it easier to sit erect when compared to Padmasana or Parvatasana. It also offers an excellent stretch for your quadriceps.
How to do:
- Kneel down on yoga mat with thighs perpendicular to the mat.
- Sit down on the mat, hips between your legs, feet separated at hip width, and knees together.
- Keeping your spine erect, close your eyes, and allow your hands to rest on thighs in Gyan Mudra.
- With deep inhalations and exhalations, allow your mind to focus on your breathing pattern.
- Sit until your body relaxes completely.
Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase the duration.
- You can use a yoga blanket or yoga block to support your hip bones.
- People with knee injury should avoid this pose.
4. Vajrasana – Thunderbolt Pose:
Given its fabulous benefits, it is no wonder that this pose is also called the Diamond pose. Along with helping you meditate and focus better, this pose also offers cure from various digestive disorders while strengthening your thighs and knees. People, who are suffering from knee injuries and cannot practice Virasana, can opt for this pose.
How to do:
- Sit down on the floor on the knees allowing your hips to rest on your heels.
- Close your eyes and rest your palms on your thighs in Yoga Mudra.
- Keep your spine erect and focus on your breath, hold the position for 3 to 5 minutes, increasing the duration with practice.
- Spread a blanket atop your feet to act as a cushion for your hips.
- You can also place a blanket beneath your knees if you have mild knee pain.
- Initially, you can chant Om or switch on a chant CD to focus; you can slowly practice without these props once you feel confident.
5. Sukhasana – Easy Pose:
If you are comfortable sitting cross-legged, this could be the easiest way to meditate. All you need is some silence and an erect spine.
How to do:
- Sit on the yoga mat with spine erect.
- Keep your legs crossed.
- Stretch out your hands in Gyan Mudra.
- Close your eyes, chant your favorite mantra, and try to focus on the same.
- Allow your mind to forget everything else but the chant.
It looks simple but takes a lot of practice to get right. The trick is to leave behind all your thoughts and pay attention to just the chant. Try it for a few days and you will see the transformation it brings.
6. Salutation Seal:
This is one of the simplest and most handy yoga for concentration of mind.
How to do:
- Sit on the floor or a yoga mat in Sukhasana.
- Join your palms at chest level in Namaskar Mudra.
- Keeping your spine erect and eyes closed, breathe deeply.
- Try to pay attention to your breathing pattern.
You can start practicing this for 10 minutes daily. Just two weeks – and you will be able to witness visible differences in your concentration levels.
- If you are suffering from back or knee injury, you can sit on a sofa.
- Spread out a blanket on top of a yoga mat for added cushion.
7. Balasana – Child Pose:
There is something about children – their amazing flexibility and ability to be peaceful. But we can do it too but it might take a little time, especially if you have an extended waistline. Along with stretching the back, thigh, ankle, shoulder, spine, and even the neck, this pose allows you to relax completely. A relaxed mind can always concentrate better. Balasana is nothing, but pure comfort.
How to do:
- Sit on the floor in Vajrasana.
- Spread out your knees at mat width, feet close allowing the big toes to be in contact.
- Take a deep breath and as you exhale, allow your body to fall forward, swaying away from the hips, tummy between the thighs and forehead resting on the mat.
- Bring your hands forward and allow your palms to rest on the mat, at shoulder width.
- Breathing normally, stay in the position, focusing on your breathing.
- To exit the position, take a deep breath and lift your body. Come back to Vajrasana, while exhaling slowly.
Start with 10 minutes, graduating to a duration that’s convenient.
- Place a yoga block to support your palms.
- Beginners can chant or play some music to help them focus.
Standing Yoga Exercises for Concentration:
8. Tadasana – Mountain Pose:
This pose allows you to relax completely and does not require any intense technique. Along with strengthening your thighs and easing your back pain, this pose also helps with sciatica and stress issues. Just practice it for 5 minutes, whenever you are stressed, just to witness the calming effect it has on your body and soul.
How to do:
- Stand on your yoga mat with back erect, big toes and heels in contact.
- Rest your palms on either side on the body.
- Inhaling deeply, lift your hands overhead in Namaskar Mudra.
- Stretching as much as possible, allow your gaze to be fixed on the finger tips. Alternatively, you can close your eyes while keeping your head straight.
- Hold the pose, concentrating on your breathing pattern, until you feel relaxed.
- Exhaling slowly, relax and slowly come back to the initial position.
Practice this for at least 15 minutes daily over a period of two weeks for visible improvement in concentration levels.
- Do not do this pose if you are suffering from chronic back pain without your doctor’s advice.
Try to support yourself on the toes while stretching to your maximum. You can keep a blanket beneath the toes for added support. Standing on the toes is known to offer better results.
Yogic Breathing Exercises For Better Concentration:
9. Anuloma Viloma Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing:
This is the simplest among the yogic breathing exercises that help you focus while clearing your clogged sinuses and mind.
How to do:
- Sit in a comfortable yoga seated pose, while your hands rest on your thighs in Yoga Mudra.
- Hold your right hand in Vishnu Mudra.
- Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale deeply via left nostril.
- Now closing the left nostril with the ring and small fingers, exhale via right nostril.
- With the left nostril close, inhale deeply via the right nostril.
- Close the right nostril with the thumb and exhale with left nostril.
- This makes one round of Anuloma – Viloma Pranayama.
- Sit erect, with eyes closed, and focus only on how you breathe.
Repeat the process for about 10 minutes to begin with, completing at least 30 counts in 10 minutes. Do not hurry through the rounds just because you need to meet the counts. Each breath should be complete with a deep inhalation and exhalation.
- Place a blanket beneath your knees if you are sitting in Vajrasana or Virasana.
10. Udgeeth Pranayama – Chanting Breathing:
Using the power of Om to relax – that is what this breathing technique is all about. Kids and adults should practice this to boost their memory and concentration powers. .
How to do:
- Sit in a comfortable position, preferably Sukhasana or Padmasana
- Keeping your eyes closed and spine erect, inhale deeply, and while exhaling, chant Om.
- Hold your breath as long as you can. The longer you can hold your breath, the better the results will be.
- One chanting completes one round. Focus should entirely be on how long you can hold your breath while exhaling.
Start with 5 minutes, increasing the duration with practice.
- Beginners can sit near a wall for support.
- If you have knee or back injuries, you can sit on a chair and practice the same.
Relaxation Yoga Exercises for Concentration:
11. Makarasana – The Crocodile Pose:
It is a restorative yoga pose that gives you a chance to relax completely.
How to do:
- Lie down on the yoga mat on your stomach.
- Fold your hands and allow your forehead to rest on the palms facing the mat.
- Keep your legs stretched out at hips width.
- Taking a deep breath and then exhaling gently, allow your body to relax completely.
- Close your eyes and breathe normally; focusing on each breath you take.
While there is no specific duration for practicing this pose, you should do it at least for 15 minutes for better concentration.
- Place a blanket under your hands for additional support.
12. Savasana – The Corpse Pose:
This is, unarguably, a quintessential yoga pose, yielding multitude of benefits – physical, mental, and spiritual. Unwind yourself and allow your body and mind to experience complete peace and tranquillity with Shavasana, the ultimate relaxation pose. It allows your body to regroup and revitalize. You can even do it alone or at the end of a vigorous practice session to relax yourself. One of the sure shot exercises in yoga to improve concentration.
How to do:
- Lie down on the yoga mat in supine position with feet apart at a comfortable distance.
- Let your arms rest along your body, palms facing the ceiling.
- Close your eyes and with deep breathing, let your body relax completely.
- Breathe generously and naturally, paying attention to each of your breath.
- Clear your crammed mind – your chores, your job, kids, spouse, in-laws – literally everything should be out of your mind. Focus on your breathing and how rhythmic and deep it is.
- To exit, breathe deeply and slowly move your toes and fingers gently. Roll on to your right with eyes still closed and then sit in Sukhasana.
- Place a blanket or cushion beneath your head for added relaxation.
Things to keep in mind while practicing yoga for concentration:
- Do it in complete silence.
- Wear loose fitting clothes.
- Always practice in an airy room.
- The results would be better if you practice these concentration exercises early morning.
- Do not practice any of these exercises on a full stomach.
Learning to keep your mind calm is as important as keeping your body relaxed. Practice these yoga concentration exercises for a peaceful, calm, and stress free life. You will be surprised how easily you achieve a more aware life!
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