Sanctuary Living by THE YOGA SCHOOL

Meditate / Wellbeing

Keep Your Brain Pin-sharp

By The Yoga School / January 14, 2019

Feeling a little sluggish lately? Spark your brain cells into life with these easy brain boosters!

Don’t wait till the onset of brain decline or senility to set in before you start flexing your mental muscles – the time to adapt brain-friendly habits is now, while you’re still young. With new brain capacity, you can benefit right away by becoming more efficient and creative.

EAT LIKE A GREEK

Packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, the Mediterranean diet is high in fruit, vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil; and low in salt and red meat. Research at Columbia University have revealed that Mediterranean-diet followers have a 40 per cent lower risk for Alzhemier’s. So swap that greasy plate of char kuay teow for some omega-rich salmon sushi instead, your brain will thank you!

LAY OFF YOUR KEYBOARD

Can’t recall the last time you wrote something by hand? Grab a pen and rev up your brain! The act of writing (instead of typing) lights up an area of the brain known as Broca’s region, which facilitates understanding and communication, a study in Advances in Haptics finds.

GET AMPLE REST

Dubbed the “energy currency” of life, research from Harvard Medical School indicates that the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) floods the brain during sleep. ATP captures the chemical energy released from metabolised nutrients and makes it available for cellular functions. Ensure sufficient fuel for your cells by getting seven to eight hours of shut-eye every night.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

New skills may create new neural pathways or connections in the brain, which helps keep your mind sharp over time. The key is choosing something you like because the more you enjoy something, the more you’ll do it. “Pick up a fresh hobby, such as playing a musical instrument or even mastering another language,” says Dr Lim Li Ling, a consultant neurologist at the Singapore Neurology & Sleep Centre at Gleneagles Medical Centre. “Such activities will keep your grey cells stimulated.”

EYE-XERCISE!

For a quick memory boost, move your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds. Horizontal eye movements help your right and left brain hemispheres to interact with each other, and that aids in the retrieval of certain types of memories.

CURRY, ANYONE?

Tucking into a curry a week could keep your brain cells spiced up. Found naturally in turmeric, curcumin helps fight off brain ageing by preventing the spread of protein plaques in the brain.

PRACTICE MEDITATION

Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, has a new favourite habit which helps him focus. “I now meditate two or three times a week, for about 10 minutes each time,” he reveals. “Melinda meditates too. Sometimes we sit to meditate together.” Bill says meditation helps him to focus and keep his brain young. “I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports,” says Bill, who recommends The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe, as one of his top five most loved books of 2018. The self-made billionaire adds, “It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.”

Meditation has many cognitive benefits that are backed by science. Last April, a seven-year-long University of Miami study published findings in Springer’s Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, suggesting that meditation has “the potential to alter longitudinal trajectories of cognitive change across a person’s life.” In other words, it could prevent age-related mental decline.

If you’re new to meditation, or would love to continue your practice in a beautiful and nurturing space, try Kundalini Yoga Meditation, also referred to as the “yoga of awareness”, at The Yoga School. Kundalini Yoga and Meditation classes here are taught by KRI certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, Rie Komiya, who’s originally from Japan.

“Meditation is deeply woven into the practice of Kundalini Yoga and its health benefits are countless!” Rie shares. “In addition to keeping your brain in tip top shape, meditation also promotes an overall sense of well-being, inner peace, stability and calmness. This opens us up to other areas in our lives, such as personal growth, increased creativity and sharper intuition.” Meet Rie in person at her classes and learn more self-care tools for yourself. Details about Rie’s weekly Kundalini Yoga and Meditation classes can be found here.

Editor’s note: Kundalini Yoga kriyas can be very advanced in nature, and it is strongly recommended that you explore them with the guidance of an experienced KRI certified teacher, especially if you’re a beginner.
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