Since I am a notorious yoga-addict, my friends, family, and clients all love to email me the news stories they come across about yoga. Lately, I keep getting emails and text messages with links to stories about something called SuperBrain Yoga. Have you seen it? If you have, you know that it is based on the idea that just 3 minutes a day of a few key movements can jump-start our brains and turn us into fast, savvy, learning machines.
So, is it all that it's cracked up to be? First, let's take a look at the science behind it.
People have asked me if I think SuperBrain Yoga is just a trend that tries to strip down the sophisticated, ancient steps of yoga into a small easy-to-digest package that mainstream society can use. While I am somewhat of a purist when it comes to yoga, I also see the benefit it making it more accessible to people of all ages and lifestyles. I have long been a fan of introducing yoga to schools and workplaces because it increases relaxation and focus - and even has been proved to increase test scores. I think it's positive if people are finally moving away from seeing yoga as a "workout" and viewing it as a holistic way to boost our brains and our intelligence. It's time we learn that our brains and bodies are not separate, but that our brain is the creative engine of our bodies. SuperBrain yoga actually has been shown to activate key sectors of the brain in similar ways as traditional yoga and acupuncture.
These claims have been backed up by the findings of Dr. Joie P. Jones of the Dept. of Radiological Sciences at the University of California. More specifically, the finger pads used in SuperBrain yoga actually stimulate neuropathways into the brain. Even EEG scans display the right and left hemispheres of the brain synchronizing during the 3-minute routine. If you want to test out SuperBrain Yoga for yourself, the Queensland Academies has a complete guide. Below, I have shared some of the highlights from their great resource:
- Remove all jewelry and stand up straight.
- Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your teeth (as if you were about to say “La”). Leave it there throughout the exercise.
- Take your left hand and cross your upper body to hold of your right earlobe with thumb and forefinger. Make sure that the thumb is in front.
- Now take your right hand across your upper body to hold of your left earlobe. Again, make sure that the thumb is in front. At this point you’re pressing both earlobes simultaneously. Make sure your left arm is close to your chest and inside your right arm.
- Inhale through your nose and slowly squat down to the ground.
- Hold your breath and do not exhale until you start making your way back up to a standing position.
- Repeat this squatting action between 15 and 21 times. Remember to keep holding your earlobes and to keep your tongue touching the roof of your mouth throughout the entire exercise. You may not notice a change immediately, but after a few weeks an improvement in concentration should become apparent.