“I’m so busy!” “I am so stressed!” “I’ve just been so busy that I don’t have time to work out!” We’ve all heard it. But more likely than not, we’ve been these people. There seems to be no doubt that we are living in a go-go-go society that doesn’t seem to slow down. We all know that yoga and meditation can serve as a gentle, centering practice, but what if you wanted to try something new, something quicker? As a graduate student studying neuroscience and psychology with an interest in integrative health, I was bombarded with fads and trends. Friends, family, and even classmates would swear by certain vitamins, exercise regimes, and products that were “absolutely life-changing.” One of these trends was superbrain yoga!
It all sounded too good to be true. Just three minutes of simple—no twisting or extreme—movements could synchronize my brain? Even if superbrain yoga wasn’t all that it claimed to be, it certainly couldn’t hurt to try. Some friends of mine (with ADD/ADHD) claimed that it improved their focus and attention. Placebo effect? I thought so. But my skepticism has since dwindled since I began incorporating superbrain yoga into my daily practice. The best part about it? This practice has garnered such a vocal following that some researchers are looking to more rigorously investigate it. So, for those who are in desperate need of a quick re-centering but are also mindful of time, this practice may be for you!
Superbrain yoga is a combination of acupressure (of the ear) and a breathing technique, which balances the brain’s hemispheres. Developed by Master Choa Kok Sui, the practice allows energy from your lower chakras to move up to the Ajna (third eye) and Sahasrara (crown) chakras. As the idea goes, when the energy moves upward, it becomes subtle energy that enhances brain functioning. While these claims have not been scientifically validated, the investment of fewer than five minutes a day is worth it. For me, I discovered an effective and energizing centering practice. I try to do this practice every morning and night. I also like to do it when I’ve been sitting for too long and feel antsy. It’s like an active meditation that gets me up and moving! If you’re itching to get up from your work desk and increase your mental clarity, follow these steps:
How to Practice Superbrain Yoga
1. First, remove any jewelry from your ears and stand in Tadasana (mountain pose)— Please note that Master Choa Kok Sui says that you should face east, but I don’t incorporate that into my practice because I (personally!) find it to be irrelevant.
2. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Let it rest behind your top, front teeth.
3. Bring your left arm in front of you and fold it at the elbow. Then, reach for your right earlobe.
4. Hold your right earlobe with your left hand. Place your thumb on the front-side of the earlobe and put your index finger behind the ear. Make sure your grasp is gentle, but firm.
5. Repeat this process with your right arm (the right arm will be crossed over the left one).
6. Keeping your arms as they are, inhale deeply through your nose and simultaneously squat into a sitting position. A deeper squat is better, but do what feels right for your body.
7. If you can, hold the position for a few seconds. Exhale on the way up to standing.
8. Repeat cycle 15-20 times: Inhale as you go down, exhale as you come up. Also, note that Master Choa Kok Sui says that 14 is the ideal number, but this seems arbitrary to me so I usually do about 18-20.
9. When you’re done, release your fingers from your ears and relax your arms to hang at your sides and disconnect your tongue from the roof of your mouth.
While the moniker is catchy, it is certainly ambiguous. Will this practice actually give me a super brain? The jury is out on that, but it is likely not to happen. Some proponents even claim that this practice will endow you with greater intelligence and creativity, which I find to be a lofty claim. However, I can attest that this practice increases the flow of prana energy within the body. It increased my inner peace and allowed me to explore an option that was more active and physically invigorating than traditional sedentary meditation. If nothing else, this practice will increase your strength and balance!
Have you tried superbrain yoga?
Also by Leigh: What’s Your Dosha? Discover and Balance Your Mind-Body Type
Related: Does Yoga Make You More Creative?
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Photo: Jesse Orrico via Unsplash