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Yoga for Balance and Brain Health

Balance_ToesA Breathe Easy© Personal Practice Tip

Did you know that passing a balance test is an important indicator of brain health?

Research

A study of about 1,400 adults with an average age of 67 showed that those who could not stand on 1 foot for 20 seconds had more signs of “silent strokes” than those who could. These silent strokes aren’t easy to detect but can lead to more serious strokes and dementia.

This study, published last December, also showed that poor balance could lead to lower scores on thinking and memory tests. You can read more about this study here

Can you stand on 1 foot for 20 seconds?

 Enter Yoga

Most of my private yoga students are over 50 and in almost every session we do balance postures because of its link to good brain health. It is impossible to balance without focused attention. In fact balance postures tell you immediately just how focused and centered you really are.

Your Personal Practice

The balance posture you do doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. Here are a couple of suggestions

  1. In the drawing above the stick figure is inhaling up onto both toes while raising arms over head. Then stay up on toes and take several breaths (for 20 seconds or more) before exhaling and bringing arms to sides and heels to floor. While this isn’t on one foot, it does have the challenge of being up on your toes.
  2. You can also balance on one foot while bringing your knee up to a 90-degree angle and arms over head. Again, stay breathing in that position for at least 20 seconds. Then switch legs and repeat.

TIPS: Gently firm your lower belly and focus your eyes on a stable object to improve your balance.

Regular practice will help you lengthen the time you can stay in a balance posture.

Balance postures can be done at the beginning of your practice or after you come from the floor to standing. If your back feels a little tight after the posture, do a gentle forward bend.

It’s important to include balance postures in your regular yoga practice. Your brain will thank you for it.

Breathe Easy,

Joanne

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Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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