An early morning shower, followed by a visit to the nearby Lord Ganesha temple to perform Thoppu Karanam – a soulful experience for all of us. This age-old practice stems from the belief that Lord Ganesha and his wives Siddhi and Buddhi represent wisdom, knowledge and accomplishment – all connected to the functioning of the brain.
Thoppu Karanam is also used for Prayaschita (repentance) to help people develop the required Vivekam (discrimination) to distinguish between good and bad, thus helping them avoid mistakes again. This is probably why it was used as a ‘punishment’ tool in schools.
Our Rishis strongly believed that this practice activated those parts of the brain that help in concentration and memory power. Over the years, many studies the world over have given scientific credence to these ancient thoughts. It is a beautiful journey of ‘worship to work out’!
Today, if you come cross the term Super Brain Yoga, do not think of it as an alien term. It is our very own Thoppu Karanam (Uthak Baitak in Hindi and Baski in Kannada).
Science behind Thoppu Karanam:
In this form of worship, we often see a man with hands crossed over his chest, holding onto his earlobes and repeatedly squatting and standing up to the count of 18 or 108 or even 1008!
The up and down movement of the body enhances blood circulation and pumps up the cell and neuron activity in the brain. The earlobes are acupressure points. By holding onto them, neural pathways in the brain are stimulated. Holding the left earlobe with the right hand stimulates the right brain and holding right earlobe with the left hand stimulates the left brain. After performing this exercise, EEG scans show that the left and right hemispheres of the brain are well synchronised.
Benefits of Thoppu Karanam:
Children and people from all walks of life, from young to old, have benefited from this exercise. Additionally, pilot studies have shown that children with ADHD, autism, specific learning disabilities and developmental and cognitive delays show improvements in academic performance, social skills and behaviour.
Apart from reducing tension and stress, this exercise leads to improvements in:
- Mental energy
- Intelligence and creativity
- Class participation
- Academic performance
- Social skills
For Thoppu Karanam to be effective, it is recommended you practice it every day. This will help energise and activate the brain cells and extend the benefits over a long period of time. Daily practice will ensure your children stay fit – physically, mentally and emotionally. In just 3 months, you will begin to see improvements in both behaviour and academic performance. So, what are you waiting for? Start your child with three minutes of Thoppu Karanam every day – not as a punishment, but as a brain and energy booster!
Yoga is not only beneficial for health but it can create a bond between the parent and the child in a fun way. Go through this article that looks at 6 great asanas for family fitness.
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