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Boost your brain in just minutes a day

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Unread 01.02.19, 03:23 AM
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Boost your brain in just minutes a day

01.01.19 10:01 PM

Today was bittersweet; we gathered to say goodbye to my good friend.

I say it was bittersweet because he had suffered for over 14 years from dementia. By the end, he didn’t recognize his own kids or his wife of 63 years.

So we focused on the good times and mourned both his passing and the years that Alzheimer’s stole from him and his family.

Thankfully, we’re finally finding more answers and real hope to this disease in nature and traditional practices.

Recent research found that a 2,500-year-old practice can have real, measurable benefits to your brain that can keep it healthy and sharp, boost your focus and attention and even help your brain grow new connections — all in just minutes a day.

Yogis and Buddhists have long claimed that meditation and ancient breath-focused practices, such as pranayama, strengthen your ability to focus on tasks.

The researchers found that synchronizing breath and focus (like through a yogic breathing practice known as pranayama) led to improved levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline.

Noradrenaline is a chemical messenger that’s released when you’re challenged, curious, excited, focused or emotionally aroused. If it’s produced at the right levels, it actually helps your brain grow new connections.

Here are three easy options on how to perform pranayama breathing.

#1 — Ocean breath

Choose a comfortable seated position and inhale deeply through your mouth.

Focus on the air as it passes down your windpipe. Next, close your mouth and contract the back of your throat as if you were going to whisper. Keep it contracted as you inhale and exhale, breathing through your nose and concentrating on your breath.

Now, move your focus to your chest, stomach and ribcage and watch it move up and down as you inhale and exhale. You want to synchronize your breath to its movements — inhaling as they move up and exhaling as they move down. Continue to concentrate on your breathing for two to five minutes.

#2 — Light skull breathing

Again take a comfortable, seated position. You can lightly rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up toward the ceiling.

Inhale deeply through your nose, focusing on your lower belly. Next, contract your belly to force your breath back out in a short burst.

Quickly release the contraction to inhale automatically and repeat the cycle. Start with approximately 65 contractions per minute and work your way up to 100 per minute. But always be sure to stop if you begin to feel dizzy.

#3 — Alternate nostril breathing

Take a comfortable, seated position.

First, press your right thumb to your right nostril to close it and take a deep breath through your left nostril.

Next, use the ring finger of your right hand to close your left nostril as you let go of your right nostril and exhale.

Keep your left nostril closed as you inhale through the right. Then, press your thumb to your right nostril, sealing it once again and releasing the left.

Repeat for a total of 10 times.

On top of the pranayama breathing exercises, it’s also important to follow a few other vital tips if you want to keep your brain functioning optimally as you age.

First, be sure to get regular physical activity. You want to get the blood flowing to make sure your brain is nourished and oxygenated so that it can give you its best.

And don’t forget the saying “use it or lose it.” Nowhere is this truer than in your brain. Learn a new language, take up a hobby or try online brain training exercises.

Finally, give your brain the nutrients it needs to maintain clarity and preserve memories. And hands down the most important nutrient when it comes to this is called phosphatidylserine (PS). PS has been shown to improve cognitive function, including learning, memory and recalling numbers, names and faces by 30 percent. In fact, a scientific study found that PS can roll back up to 12 years of mental decline. My favorite source of PS is Peak PS.


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