By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
There are a variety of Yoga techniques that enhance intelligence and help one make intelligent choices. Yoga techniques, that enhance cognitive functioning of the brain, include inversion asanas that increase the circulation of new blood and oxygen into the brain. Yoga pranayama techniques, that help to quell anxiety, also support a Yoga practitioner in accurately accessing a situation, without the confusion of an anxious, racing, and overactive mind.
Additionally, Yoga asanas and meditation techniques, which demand a one-pointed focus, help a Yogi or Yogini to focus on one task as a time. This ability to focus supports an intelligent appraisal of a situation and enhances the practitioner’s ability to follow through on one task at a time in daily life.
The following inversion poses will turn your world upside down! Both of these Yoga asanas help to circulate fresh blood and oxygen all throughout the body, including the brain. With an increase of fresh blood and oxygen, the brain will function more efficiently and brain fogginess will be relieved – thereby, enhancing intelligence.
Legs up the Wall – Viparita Karani
In order to practice Legs up the Wall pose, place your Yoga mat up against a wall. Scoot your sit bones sideways against the wall, and then slowly raise your legs up the wall, in a perpendicular position, to the floor. This pose is very restorative in nature, and you will receive many of the same benefits of Shoulder Stand or Head Stand, without risking your neck. Stay in this pose for up to five or ten minutes, and then come down slowly, resting for a few minutes in fetal position.
Supported Shoulder Stand – Salamba Sarvangasana
Shoulder stand is a deeper and steeper inversion. Steep inversions are empowering. However, people with pre-existing neck problems, high or low blood pressure, a previous stroke, heart problems, epilepsy, detached retina, or glaucoma should consult their physician or specialist before attempting them.
To practice Shoulder Stand, place a folded blanket on your Yoga mat at shoulder height. Lie down on the blanket and make sure that your shoulders meet the edge of the folded blanket, but do not hang over the edge. Slowly, raise your legs up in the air and perpendicular to the floor. Support your torso with your hands at your lower back. Keep your arms tucked neatly into your sides. Extend your legs further up towards the ceiling. Hold Shoulder Stand for three to five minutes, or however long feels appropriate for you today.
When you are ready to come down, lower your legs slowly back down to the floor, as you roll out of the pose, vertebrae by vertebrae. Please do Fish Pose as a counter-pose after practicing Shoulder Stand. Fish Pose is performed by placing your hands, palms down, under your sacrum area, elbows tucked neatly into your sides, as you arch your torso up towards the ceiling, while you open your neck and throat area to the sky. Come down slowly and rest in Corpse Pose.
Both of these inversion postures will enhance intelligence, by circulating new blood and fresh oxygen throughout the entire body, including the brain. Pranayama Yoga techniques and other Yoga asanas, that lower anxiety levels and require great concentration and focus, will also enhance intelligence.
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