How can I increase memory retention and improve concentration by doing Yoga/Pranayam?
Breathing to improve memory
Human memory is a function of the brain, the neural activity of which allows you to filter, select, store and destroy memories. Memories, in turn, are composed of feelings, moods, thoughts and words, that is, the results of the activity of the sphere of feelings, emotions, imagination and intellect.
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Socrates claimed that it is like a fingerprint on a wax board of the soul. And the writer Alexander Chase defined it as “what we forget”. Many people complain about forgetfulness, but the owners of phenomenal memory do not feel happier, because their memory is overloaded with
unnecessary details, which they would like with great pleasure to forget.
Is it possible to achieve and maintain for years to come a reasonable balance between the ability to remember and the ability to forget? Researches of scientists give a positive answer to this question. They found that the human brain is capable of changes in the structure of cell connections and the daily birth of new nerve cells associated with the properties of memory. But in this organism it is necessary to help.
The simplest and most effective way to improve memory is to return to the right breathing. Man, like all living organisms on earth, is born with the right mechanism of breathing, but as he grows up and under the influence of the habits of the surrounding civilized world, this skill gradually loses. Most people generally do not pay attention to how they breathe and their respiratory movements become superficial and careless. Breathing practices used in yoga (pranayama) will help breathe with maximum benefit, both for the mind and the body.
Yoga, in one of the variants of translation, means “union” – the union of mind and body as a result of conscious work with breathing. There are hundreds of variations of pranayama exercises. Let’s consider the basic.
Energizing Breath (Bhastrika)
From the point of view of pranayama, Bhastrika, or belly breathing is the basic exercise, the result of which is the acceleration of the circulation of blood and oxygen in the brain region, stimulation of the psychological Centers of man.
Sit down so that you feel comfortable, straighten the spine, close your eyes. Exhale all the air from your lungs. After that, start deep breaths and exhalations through the nose, mentally repeating the mantra “Co” on inhalation and “Hum” on exhalation (breathing “Co”, you breathe life, exhaling “Hum”, you breathe out ego and limitation). The first twenty breathing cycles do two-second strong, slow breaths and the same exhalations.
The next twenty cycles are performed faster – lasting about one second. Finally, the last twenty quick breaths-exhalations – about half a second each. Then take a slower breath in and out and listen to the sensations in your body. You will find that your mind is clear and calm, and the body has received a charge of energy.
All respiratory movements are carried out by the abdomen, air is drawn into the lungs and pushed outwards with the help of the diaphragm, the head and shoulders are relaxed and practically immobile
Clearing the channels (Nadi-Shodhana)
This is a cleansing exercise that balances the “nasal rhythm.” As a result of the natural alternation of nostril activity, we have one hemisphere of the brain working more actively, then the other. When the right nostril dominates, the left hemisphere is working hard, which means that it is easier to direct attention inside – intuition, creative activity increase. In the nervous system, the parasympathetic system predominates, which is responsible for relaxation, tissue growth and regeneration. When the left nostril dominates, the right hemisphere and the sympathetic nervous system predominate. Analytic thinking and centers of verbal communication (hearing, speech, writing, reading) are amplified, physical activity of the body increases. If both nostrils work, then both hemispheres work in unison.
Technique of performing Nadi-Shodhana: Exhale;
- Close the right nostril with your thumb;
- Slowly exhale through the left;
- Continuing to hold the right nostril closed, inhale through the left as quietly and deeper as possible;
- Close the left nostril with a ring finger and exhale through the right deep and slowly;
- When the lungs are released, take a deep breath through the right;
- Close the right with your thumb;
- Exhale through the left.
- Continue the rotation of the sides until you perform 3 breaths of exhalation on each side. Then lower your hands and breathe freely and freely with both nostrils.
It is important to perform the first exhalation from the passive side. For this, before practicing, do several cycles of breathing with both nostrils and determine which nostril is more active at the moment. Transfer attention to the flow of breath passing through the nostril, which is felt more open. Then shift your attention to the less active nostril, observe the breathing. At the end, combine the two streams, feeling how they pass from the base of the nose to the point located between the eyebrows and in it merge into a single stream.
Within a week of regular execution of this technique, your hearing will improve, your eyesight will clear, dry mouth will disappear and your breathing will clear and, accordingly, the perception of life and activity of all types of memory will revive.
the ability of a person is, but it is in a permanent state. And, consequently, it can be promoted to stimulate cellular respiration.
Delayed breathing (Kumbhaka)
In addition to affecting the human consciousness, this technique improves the capillarization of all organs and tissues, increases the trophic function of the blood. By and large, Kumbhaka – this is the ancient secret of youth.
Technique of execution:
The starting position – sitting in a lotus, half-lotus or Turkish style. Place the brushes on your knees.
Take a full breath. Shorten the muscles of the perineum, draw in the stomach, lower the chin on the chest and slightly pull the head back. On inhaling,
hold your breath until you feel uncomfortable. Execute a full exhalation, gradually relaxing the muscles of the perineum and abdomen, raise the head. Do not over tighten the throat. Exhalation in duration is equal to inhalation. Perform 3 times. Consciousness is directed to the heart area. The effect of delaying breathing depends on its duration.
There are several grades of Kumbhaka with full lungs.
1. Kumbhaka duration of 3 to 20 seconds. The task of this kind of Kumbhaka, available to everyone, is to promote the absorption of inhaled air. In normal breathing, a person uses 6% of 21% oxygen contained in the air. The delay in breathing promotes more complete assimilation of oxygen by the lungs and the release of excess carbon dioxide. In this case, breathing is performed with maximum efficiency. This kind of Kumbhaka can be practiced anywhere, there are no contra-indications.
2. Kumbhaka lasting from 20 to 90 seconds. If the breath hold lasts more than 20 seconds, then its results are more obvious. At the initial stage it is advisable to deal with the manager. Breathing delay lasts to reasonable limits (do not go over the natural comfort barrier and do not use willpower)
3. Kumbhaka duration from 90 seconds to several minutes. This kind of Kumbhaka can cause a yog controlled pre-coma and completely restore the lost body. Independent practices are not safe.
Other breathing techniques for memory
There are other methods of controlled breathing. The most popular in the west is the method of rebirthing (from English rebirthing-rebirth), developed in America by Leonard Orr. On the basis of rebuilding technologies were created: holotropic breathing and vayvyshn (up to 1987 – integrative rebirfing).
If you do not know where to start, start with what you like best. Watch your breathing: how it goes on inspiration, what it touches, what in the body it moves, what muscles you use, what sounds it produces. Benefit from conscious breathing will get everyone who starts to deal with it. Because regardless of the initial level of health, skills and abilities, activating your attention and feelings, you are renewing your body and mind.