3 Yoga Poses That Will Make You Smarter.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Aug 15, 2013
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Child's pose

Stress literally makes us dumber.

When you’re under chronic stress, your body taps into the area of your brain that’s responsible for your fight-or-flight response rather than your rational thinking.

Thankfully, we can practice yoga.

So here are three yoga poses that will help you remember how to relax again.

1. Viparita Karani.

This pose is also known as legs-up-the-wall pose because, not surprisingly, you recline on your back with your legs up a wall. However, you can also elevate your hips on a low bolster or block.

This pose is so completely calming to your nervous system, that it’s also the go-to pose for insomnia.

Ideally, practice this pose for five minutes.

2. Child’s pose.

Child’s pose is one of my personal favorites for an easy quick fix to battle anxiety and fatigue.

It’s a gentle forward fold and extremely mild inversion, which can be calming in and of themselves, and it’s also a moderate hip-opener too. Since we tend to hold tension in our hips, releasing tightness both in this area and along your spine will help you to naturally bring a sensation of relaxation back into your body.

Start on all fours with your big toes together. Take your knees as wide apart as it feels good to you. Then, hinge from your hip-crease (where your upper thighs meet your pelvis) and fold forward either over or between your thighs. If your head doesn’t easily come to rest upon the floor, don’t force it (because how relaxing is that). Instead, use a yoga block, stacked fists or another surface where you can more comfortably place your forehead. (This will allow you to sink more deeply into your breath and body.)

3. Running man.

According to Patanjali, yoga is simply the cessation of the fluctuations of your mind. Well, it sounds simple at least, but it’s much more complicated once you begin to try it.

One of the absolute best ways that I’ve found to practice yoga is ironically nowhere near my mat.

Here’s how to try out running man: tie on a good pair of jogging shoes, open your front door, and put one foot in front of the other as you run around your block.

Feel yourself instantly chill out as the wind whips through your hair and the sun kisses your skin.

See, sometimes you don’t even need a yoga mat to practice yoga.

Okay, so these poses may or may not increase your IQ immediately after you practice them, but I will promise you this: we do not make our best decisions out of fear, and, unfortunately, that’s exactly where we physiologically make choices when we’re placed under constant stress.

So try these out, and discover if they work as well for you as they have for me.

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar


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Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


3 Responses to “3 Yoga Poses That Will Make You Smarter.”

  1. Literally I sometimes do the Running Man dance move before Vipartia Karani. Wind up then wind down. Love your articles, Jenn! They are awesome, inspiring, grounding, relatable, funny, and such important reminders. Thank you!

  2. Amanda, thank you, thank you, thank you! Coming from such a valuable writer, it means the world.

    And that combination is perfection 😉

  3. Yoga Courses says:

    Stress is a part of everybody's life. Whether it affects you or it doesn't, it's completely upto you. Yoga is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best ways to keep yourself calm inside. I will definitely try and do these 3 yoga poses to stay away from stress. Thanks a ton for this wonderful post. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to read more from you.