yoga techniques for studyingBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Are Yoga techniques for studying effective? There are some people for whom studying is easy: they simply sit down, without prompting, and work diligently until the material is covered and papers are written. They usually finish the project ahead of schedule and have time to review and revise. However, we’ve never met any of these people in real life. For the rest of us, carving out the time and effort, whether the material is work or school related, is difficult.

Here are several tips for practicing Yoga techniques for studying; they will enable you to help foster good study habits and achieve more at a given time.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Try this before sitting down to study. Sit in Lotus position, and start by inhaling with the right nostril and exhaling through the left. Alternate by inhaling through the nostril you just exhaled from, and repeat for a minute or two. This cycle focuses the mind and will allow a clear-headed approach to the task ahead.

Vrikshasana or Tree Pose

If you have been working for awhile, but you just can’t seem to focus on what you are doing, or you keep re-reading the same paragraph without comprehension, step away for a moment and challenge yourself with Vrikshasana. Practice on both the left and the right, holding the asana for 60-90 seconds. This should improve concentration.

Backbend Poses

When you are studying material you find difficult, or completing a precise task that you keep second-guessing, such as balancing a budget, you need an asana that will give you a burst of self confidence. Try a backbend pose, such as Ushtrasana, or Camel pose. Backbends require believing in yourself and “making the leap” without looking, so take a few minutes to work on these poses before returning to the project.

Balancing Poses

By practicing balancing poses, with a gazing point, such as, Virabhadrasana III or Warrior III Pose, improves the memory. Intersperse these kinds of poses with flashcards for tasks that require rote memorization.

Public Speaking

When practicing for a presentation or speech, practice Yogic breathing as if you are filling a balloon – first the lower belly, then upper belly, then chest, and exhaling slowly in reverse. Several deep breaths before will help remind you to slow down during the speech and calm the nerves.

None of these things help if they are not done; creating a schedule with preparation and Yoga time, beforehand, is very helpful in getting organized. Many instructors remind students that “breathing unlocks the brain.” For studying, this may be literally true. Whether you are a student of Yogic techniques, studying an academic subject in college, an intern in a Yoga instructor certification program, or a seasoned Yoga teacher working on your continuing education, this precious practice is helpful.

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