Yoga, Meditation, Healthy Recipes & Natural Lifestyle Tips
A quick, sharp memory is a useful tool that comes in handy throughout our lives. Whether we’re trying to remember someone’s name, making a shopping list, learning a new language, or studying for exams, our ability to recall assists us with practically everything we do in a day—even remembering where we put our keys!
According to ayurveda, an ancient health system that means “life science,” our bodies become dryer and less flexible with age. Our joints stiffen and our eyesight weakens due to this dryness. Similarly, this dryness affects our minds and we can forget things more easily. This erosion can begin as early as our twenties—and when we neglect our health, it speeds up even more.
Fortunately, ayurveda offers simple remedies that are easy for anyone to apply. I often turn to ayurveda as a guide to health and healing in my own life because it includes positive lifestyle choices that are affordable, practical, and straightforward.
Apply these simple practices to sharpen your own memory:
Practice yoga asanas
The regular practice of yoga asanas is a boon for the mind. It improves concentration on a cellular level by assisting the body in breaking down carbohydrates into glucose—the primary fuel that your brain uses to focus. Upside down poses are especially helpful. Plough, Shoulderstand, Downward Dog, and all inverted poses increase your brain’s power by nourishing its tissues with fresh blood. In addition, yoga asanas have a relaxing effect on the psyche, and work to reduce stress and balance emotions—two things that cloud the mind.
Rejuvenate with herbs
Brahmi, also known by its Latin name Bacopa monnieri, is considered the greatest herb in ayurveda for revitalizing the brain’s cells. It removes toxins and blockages within the nervous system, improves circulation, and has a calming, nurturing effect on the heart and mind. For over 3000 years, brahmi has been used in ayurvedic medicine to improve memory, increase alertness, and ward off the insomnia, restlessness, and mental deterioration that come with age. I have included this wonderful herb in my Brain Boost supplement to help your memory function at its best. Brain Boost is made from 100% wild-crafted fresh brahmi leaves and prepared according to traditional ayurvedic principles.
Ayurveda emphasizes the important role that foods play in keeping our bodies and minds strong, healthy, and free from disease. Antioxidants in particular have the amazing ability to protect us from damage caused by dangerous free radicals. In excess, and without the support of a balanced diet, free radicals can speed up the aging process and contribute to memory loss. Although some free radicals are a normal byproduct of metabolism, most are born from pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, and pesticides. Fight free radical damage by adding fresh, antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, cranberries, kidney beans, and Red Delicious apples to your diet.
One way to get better at yoga asanas is to imagine it. While I’m not advocating pushing too hard, sometimes just imagining you can go further into a pose will get you there. It gives you the will to try just a little harder. For example, if you’re doing Bow, visualize the beauty of the pose: the graceful arc formed by the arch of the back, the legs lifted high, feet moving back to open the chest. Then make your body into that shape—not violently or suddenly, but using your intelligence, your breath, and gradual movements from the inside to achieve the best pose possible.
So next time you’re doing a pose you find difficult, instead of doing it halfheartedly, thinking, “I can’t do this pose,” try this little trick of mine. Say to yourself, “I can do it.” Use your mind’s eye to see yourself a little deeper in the pose and then go there.
By the way, this will also help you hold a pose longer. Summon up your will power, take deep, even breaths, and see yourself holding it longer, a second at a time. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see just how well you can do!
Want to make your asana session more enjoyable and more beneficial? Then relax as you practice. Whether you do yoga for exercise, to relieve stress, or both, you’ll get more out of it if you relax. Don’t stress about how stiff you are; don’t strain to get into a pose. Just do your best and enjoy it.
If you’re always thinking about where you “should” be, you’ll miss what’s going on in your body at the moment. But that awareness is the key to practicing asanas correctly. So instead of worrying about how inflexible you are, just notice your tight spots. Watch your breath; notice how it affects your body, and let it help you open and release into the pose. Observe your mind—keep it focused on the pose and the breath. Don’t let it bully you into pushing too far. It’s best to hold a pose just this side of your limit. As you breathe and relax into the pose, you’ll be able to hold it longer and gradually extend your boundaries
You can even relax in strengthening poses. While contracting certain muscles, relax those that don’t need to work. Don’t hold unnecessary tension in your face or jaw, in your neck or shoulders. This tension blocks the flow of energy in the body that yoga is designed to enhance. And it’s that free-flowing energy that makes you feel good. So relax into yoga and yoga will help you relax.