I dare to say that you have probably already heard of yoga or you may have even practised it in some form. If you don't know what yoga is, we've got one question - what rock have you been living under? Just kidding!
Yoga means unity, not only of the whole body but also of the mind and the spirit. It can make you stronger, fitter, healthier and less anxious. It can be fiery and sweaty like vinyasa flow or slow, relaxing and restorative. The choices are unlimited, and you can be sure to find something suited to your taste. Yoga is also particularily amazing for the brain and today we're going to talk about an ancient technique called Thoppukaranam or Super Brain Yoga.
What is Super Brain Yoga?
Although the name is pretty self-explanatory let's dive into this ancient technique a little bit more. Super Brain Yoga is a combination of yoga postures, breathing technique and acupuncture which helps the energy move through the spine and the entire nervous system. It allows a free flow of energy through chakras (energy centres). Although this is an ancient technique which has its beginnings in India it had been re-vamped by Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, founder of the Philippines-based Institute for Inner Studies who developed a modern version of the practice.
The research shows that Super Brain Yoga can have a powerful effect on brain waves. More specifically 15min of SBY practice have proven a significant spike in the alpha
wave activity. Ok, but what are alpha waves you may ask. Those waves promote resting alertness and relaxation. Ranging from 9 to 14 Hz, alpha waves are activating relaxed and calm alertness also known as a brain’s natural state of flow. It is in the flow state we can access more of our memory and recall. This is when we are the most creative and intuitive. Interestingly most art, music, and poetry is also made in the alpha state. They also play an important role in the occipital (visual processing) region of the brain, which is responsible for learning, memory, critical thinking, face recognition and perception, just to name a few. The research on the effects of SBY was undertaken in India in 2014. This study measured “selective attention” meaning concentration, and “psychological states” meaning mental well-being. Researchers discovered “a significant improvement” in concentration performance, and mindfulness after using the technique. Furthermore, anxiety was “reduced significantly” after only one session. They concluded that “these findings indicate Thoppukaranam results in enhancement of cognitive functioning and psychological states.”
In simple terms, Super Brain Yoga is a technique that can help you feel more relaxed and calm, but it can also get the creative juices flowing, improve your memory, focus and your overall brain-power.
Super Brain Yoga Practice
Before you start, remember that it's best to practice in the morning, if possible at sunrise. You should also wear comfy clothes and remove all jewellery and accessories.
Stand up straight facing the sunrise if possible. Pull your shoulders back.
Connect your tongue to your pallet, just behind your teeth, just like you were trying to say "La".
Cross your arms and grab your earlobes with opposite hands. You should be holding each earlobe between your thumb and your index finger, the thumb should be in front.
You should now be gently pressing against both earlobes. At this point, take stock of your position. Make sure your left arm is close to your chest and tucked inside your right arm.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and inhale deeply through your nose. While inhaling move slowly to a squat position.
While you're squatting hold your breath for a second or two and exhale fully on your way up.
Consistency is key! Master Choa Kok Sui views the brain as a living battery which needs constant charging, that's where Super Brain Yoga comes in. Try repeating this excercise around 14-49 times (2-5 minutes a day) everyday for best results. Don't forget to have a cup of our Morning Glory blend right after for some added herbal goodness!
To see a demonstration of the routine go to this video which pretty much shows it all! In difficult times it's easy to forget how much we've got to be grateful for these days. So let's take a minute to appreciate all the amazing resources such as Super Brain Yoga that are out there to help us feel better and become our best selves!