In a highly competitive world, the difference between success and failure can be extremely thin. Focus and concentration become key determinants of success. It is the strength of the mind that determines whether your child wins or loses. Concentration awakens her abilities and channelises them so that she achieves her goal. Wondering how to hone your child's concentration? Try yoga.
Practising yoga for 10 to 15 minutes every day can sharpen your child's brain and increase his attention span. Here's a step-by-step guide to do 5 asanas that are known to relax the mind and improve concentration.
Matsyasana (Fish pose)
This yoga posture improves blood circulation to the brain and relieves pain in the neck and back.
How to do it
● Start off in lotus pose, that is, a seated position where your legs are crossed and the feet are on top of opposite thighs
● Grab hold of your toes and lean back until your head touches the ground. Make sure your back is arched. It should not be on the floor.
● Hold this pose for about 10 seconds and return to the original seated position.
Virasana (Hero pose)
This pose improves concentration and helps relieve stress.
How to do it
● Begin in a kneeling position, with your knees and inner thighs together
● Move your feet towards the edges of the mat and sit back. Your legs should be at your sides and your knees on the floor
● Hold this position for about 3 minutes before returning to the original position.
Suryanamaskar (Sun salutations)
This pose involves 12 separate poses that engage different areas of the body. It promotes a healthy mind and body. It also improves flexibility and contributes to the increased strength of the body and mind.
How to do it
● Begin in mountain pose (stand up straight, with your feet together and your hands in prayer position)
● Reach your hands above your head, as high as you can.
● Bend over and make your hands touch your feet.
● Put your palms on the floor and push back your left leg.
● Slide your right foot back to reach your left leg. Right now your entire body should be in a straight line.
● Place your knees on the floor. Then lie down on your chest, resting your chin, hand and feet on the floor.
● Bring your body into cobra pose. That is, hug your elbows into your body. Straighten your arms and lift your upper body. It should look like a half "U" shape.
● Come into downward dog i.e. lift your pelvis to the sky and come into a position that looks like an upside down letter “V.”
● Bring your right leg forward until it's close to your hands.
● Bring your left foot to meet your right foot.
● Stand up and stretch your hands above your head as far as they can go.
● Bring your hands to your chest into the prayer position.
● Do this morning sun salutation 3 times a day in the morning time.
From strong muscles to glowing skins, yoga gives you a range of benefits. Flip through the videos in this ClipBook to learn how to some basic poses.
Bhramari Pranayam (Bee breathing)
This technique helps get rid of anger and anxiety, and improves your concentration.
How to do it
● Begin in a seated position.
● Sit up straight with your eyes closed.
● Put your index fingers in your ears.
● Inhale deeply and make a humming sound, similar to a bee sound.
● Repeat three to five times.
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose)
This simple pose improves digestion and blood flow. It also improves concentration and calms the mind.
How to do it
● Start off in a kneeling position.
● Sit back on your heels, making sure your head, neck and back are in alignment.
● Hold this position for approximately 10 minutes, concentrating on your breath the entire time.
Other benefits of yoga
To a beginner, yoga can seem quite daunting - especially if you're not particularly flexible. Don't be put off by these misconceptions. Keep the following benefits of yoga in mind and stay motivated:
● Yoga can help you lose weight. Stressful situations can lead to overeating and weight gain. Many children, especially teenagers, already have issues with weight because of hormonal changes. But, if you practice yoga, the breathing techniques will help with the stress and staying active will prevent the packing on of extra pounds.
● Yoga improves body image. With all the changes your body goes through during puberty, it's quite clear why many children have a poor body image. Yoga promotes acceptance and self-awareness, which helps overcome poor self-image.
● Yoga improves both cognitive functioning and the mood. Practicing yoga on a regular basis not only improves the mood, it also helps to improve cognitive functioning, especially those concerning performance and memory. It can even improve your performance in tests, in terms of speed and accuracy.
What you will need to have a good yoga session
Yoga is a lot of fun but, it’s important that you take the time to do the poses right - especially if you are a beginner. Overstretching can lead to injury, which is the opposite of what you are looking for. This is where yoga props (like bolsters, blocks and straps) come in. These tools can help you safely take your yogic practice to another level.
You may also want to consider investing in:
● Yoga mat: This will enhance your stability during poses and keep your feet from slipping and sliding all over the place. The best yoga mats are not necessarily expensive.
● Yoga clothing: There are few things that can mess up your concentration more during practice than uncomfortable (too loose or too tight) clothing. Specially designed yoga clothing will provide snug support while still allowing plenty of room for proper movement.
Are you a busy mom with little time for exercise? Check out these simple poses that you can try at any time of the day.
Yogiwear is a designer line of yoga wear based in the US.