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Increasing Mental Focus and Awareness Through Yoga and Meditation

You might find it difficult to concentrate or relax your mind when faced with managing many responsibilities or feel fatigued throughout the day. Studies show that approximately 50% of the time we experience wandering thoughts between daily activities. Physical exercises such as yoga improve energy levels and cognitive test performance through the release of endorphins, increased blood flow to the brain, and can help reduce an excess of ruminative thoughts.

Yoga is an exercise and concentration practice that reduces physical tension while providing clarity. A study at The University of Waterloo found that yoga can shift attention, allowing you to better focus on purposeful tasks. After just 10 minutes of meditative yoga, researchers found that individual stress levels were reduced, and focus was drastically increased. Yoga may begin with physical movements, postures, and sequences, but the results are much more profound.

Meditation & Breathing For Clarity

Yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand. In fact, meditation is yoga; a practice of directing ones awareness for extended periods of time. When your awareness is directed intently on one object (like a candle flame) or on your breath (each inhale and each exhale) your mind places all other priorities on the perimeter of the mind; intrusive thoughts become less distracting, allowing for more control and a sense of emotional calm and stability.

Engaging in a regular meditative yoga practice can assist in reducing stress and anxiety, improving memory, concentration, and contributes to cardiovascular health. Performing a simple breathing exercise (such as Pranayama) is an approachable way to practice meditation. Explore our Pranayama learning path on the YOGA365 app for 52 weeks of progressive instruction on the Yogic science of breath, in short five-minute segments for daily or weekly practice.

Through these practices, when your body and mind come to quiet stillness, all other thoughts seem to disappear, giving way for better problem solving, seeing situations more clearly, and fostering more kindness to yourself and others. Furthermore, by calming down this part of the central nervous system, excessive release of cortisol is replaced with other "feel-good" hormones which enhance restfulness, calmness and ease of mind and body.

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