Yoga for Concentration
Modern life is fast-paced and frenetic. Many of us are juggling too many responsibilities and when combined with the after-effects of Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, it’s no surprise that increased numbers of Australians are reporting high levels of psychological distress.
On top of this, when we do manage to find the time to wind down, most people move straight to position themselves in front of the nearest screen, whether it involves scrolling through social media feeds or binging Netflix.
While it’s certainly important that we take time out for ourselves, some activities are better at promoting rest and relaxation than others. Jumping between your phone, tablet, and the TV screen isn’t going to leave you feeling any better than when you sat down. Completing a yoga session, on the other hand, is a proven way of calming your nervous system and encouraging mindfulness.
That’s not all that yoga is good for. Practising yoga on a regular basis is shown to have impressive cognitive benefits. Whilst recharging, you could actually be training your brain to take on the challenges you are recovering from.
21st century life and concentration skills don’t go hand in hand. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Mount Martha Yoga offers yoga in the Mornington Peninsula for people of all ages and abilities, providing expert advice and guidance on improving important cognitive skills.
The process of concentration
Concentration is the ability to direct and control your attention. To concentrate is to focus on one particular thought, process, or conversation without being distracted by what is going on around you.
Concentration can be an intentional or an inadvertent act. If you know you have a work deadline looming, you might control your attention on a particular list of priorities. On the other hand, if you’re engaging in a task you really love — like completing a puzzle, for example — you are likely to be concentrating without even realizing it.
The skill of concentrating is developed as a child, usually through engaging in cognitive, linguistic, and motor-based activities that are enjoyable. As we get older, some people naturally find concentrating on a particular task easier than others. This can come down to a number of different factors, including sleep, emotional mood, diet, hydration level, and your external environment.
Yoga and cognitive skills
By the time we reach adulthood, we should hopefully have a basic understanding of how our brain functions. We know what kind of environment we need for focus and the types of stimuli that are likely to distract us.
However, there are still strategies you can implement as an adult to improve your concentration skills. Yoga is one such activity.
Yoga has long been linked with both physical and mental health benefits, which is one of the reasons that it’s so very popular. Regular practice of yoga leads to improved posture, better balance, and enhanced muscular strength. It also requires the ability to stop, concentrate on your breathing, and focus on the present.
There have been many studies that have proven the link between yoga and increased concentration, including a 2014 investigation carried out by the University of Illinois, which found that practising yoga three times a week for eight weeks saw significant improvements in the cognitive abilities of older adults.
How does practising yoga achieve this? Well, yoga is a physical exercise that asks you to consider how your breath connects with the rest of your body. It involves performing poses for a period of time, during which you are asked only to concentrate on the air travelling in and out of your lungs. Your teacher will encourage you to practise mindfulness by not engaging with any thoughts that enter your head, only acknowledging that they are there while retaining focus on your breath.
These skills are easily transferable to your daily life, helping you to approach complicated tasks or impending deadlines with calmness and certainty.
Mount Martha Yoga
Mount Martha Yoga provides private, semi-private, and special event yoga in the Mornington Peninsula to individuals of all ages and abilities. As a trained and experienced practitioner and teacher of yoga, Emily has seen first hand the positive impact that regular practice has on physical and mental wellbeing. With a studio in the beautiful hills of Mount Martha, Emily aims to help her students develop skills — such as concentration — that will help with tackling life’s many challenges.
If you’re located in Mornington and have been searching for yoga near me, contact Emily at Mount Martha Yoga today to find out more.