If we want to lose fat, gain muscle or develop our bodies, we exercise. Naturally, change won’t happen overnight, and there are different strokes for different folks depending on the result we’re looking for. For instance — cardio exercises can help strengthen our respiratory system, we can lift weights to develop muscle mass, or do sit-ups to firm our abdomen. Could this same “workout” principle be applied to our brains as well?
Anatomically, the brain isn’t a muscle but an organ, but it tends to behave like the former. Another trait that makes it similar to a muscle is that we can ‘train’ our brain to change or improve in terms of cognitive functioning. Hence, we can develop our mental strength.
Similar to how preparing for an exam can be done by reading up or testing our knowledge, the brain can also be trained to develop its mental strength through regular yoga practice.
When you are at rest and paying attention to your breathing, you are also commanding your body to shut out all the unnecessary noise and focus on your inner voice. Sometimes, with so many external ideas that enter your heads, you tend to get confused about what your authentic thoughts are. Yoga helps you reach your truest self, and concentrate on the only voice that matters — yours.
When you do visualizations during yoga, your brain is trained to see only certain desired images. This is a process where unwanted thoughts are not forced out of one’s consciousness but are allowed to enter freely. During yoga, you won’t try to control these thoughts, and instead, you just let them appear like bubbles, then disappear just as quickly as bubbles would. You are in control of your thoughts, you don’t let your thoughts control you.
One of the most impressive effects yoga has on your mental stamina is harnessing your improved ability to retain information. Specifically, the Bhramari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breathing pose not only calms the mind and release feelings of negativity, but it also helps improve the brain’s concentration and memory.
When your body is at ease, both your heart rate and blood pressure are reduced, so you have lower levels of stress and anxiety. As a result of not having to deal with stress, you are more able to concentrate on strengthening your mind. Yoga can even help reduce panic attacks, which can take up a lot of your mental strength.
Your physical and mental well-being go hand in hand. Yoga has a multitude of benefits on your body’s health, such as enhancing flexibility, lowering obesity, and improving kidney function. As a result, your brain is also relieved from stress and its cognitive capabilities are enhanced. Yoga maximizes the mind-body connection to encourage mental strength and endurance so it can reach its full potential.
The powers of yoga are more far-reaching than we can imagine. After consistent practice, you will be able to observe how your mental capabilities are strengthened by this frequent “training of the mind”, not to mention the positive effects it will contribute to your physical well-being.
You can begin to unlock this mental power as early as now. All you have to do is decide to begin.