September is National Yoga Month, and what better time than the beginning of fall to stretch, refresh and reconnect with our bodies, minds and spirits.
As you practice your yoga poses this month, why not use it as an opportunity to develop your thinking agility, too?
Grab your yoga mat and your thinking cap, and check out these 7 yoga poses to inspire better thinking.
- Tree is for balance. You’ve likely built up quite a bit of mental strength in the areas of your thinking preferences, because they’re your go-to modes. But there’s something to be said for balance. Taking a whole-brained, balanced approach not only allows you to connect with others on their wavelength, it can lead you to new solutions and ideas you never would have discovered otherwise.
- Mountain is for stability. Whether it’s world events, work challenges or personal crises, life can feel chaotic and unpredictable, especially when things are outside your control. But the one thing you can control is your brain. Stability comes from getting deliberate about your thinking. Manage yourself and your own thinking before external factors manage them for you.
- Downward dog is for circulation. This is an inversion pose that energizes and rejuvenates the entire body. Want to fire up your brain even more? Keep in mind: what isn’t rehearsed doesn’t stick in long-term memory. If you want to develop an important new skill or habit, make sure to give yourself adequate time for learning, practice and reinforcement.
- Pigeon is for stretch. Most yoga poses involve stretching, but the pigeon pose is a particularly effective stretch for tension relief and building flexibility. Stretch is also an important part of developing your thinking flexibility and growing in your career or personal life. Step up to the challenge, but recognize that the greater the mental stretch, the more energy it takes to learn. So make sure you have a good understanding of the context and your own needs before you dive in.
- Cobra is for heart opening. The cliché is true: no one is an island—in fact, the brain is wired to be social. Practice your Whole Brain® communication skills to build empathy and gain valuable new perspectives. The easiest and most effective way to connect with others is to be open to “meeting them where they think.”
- Warrior is for strength. This pose is all about strength, but it’s also about finding ease within that strength. Similarly, once you understand how your preferred thinking styles can benefit you, you can also learn how to use those strengths in service of your lesser preferred styles. It’s a great way to expand your thinking comfort zones. Now that’s brain power!
- Child's pose is for calm. How do you maintain a sense of calm in an age of information overload? Be intentional about it. Find a spot in your workspace (or ideally outside your workspace, in the outdoors) that represents a place you can go to for “noise reduction”—that is, a place where you can easily take a 5-20 minute overload break. Then use it once a day for a week when you feel most overwhelmed. No excuses—everyone has 5 minutes they can take from their day to re-ground.
The best part is, you can practice these mental poses all year round. And there’s no special equipment required—other than that most valuable tool you carry with you every day: your brain.
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