Yoga is a mental practice as much as a physical one. When we spend time in the studio, or practicing on our mat at home, we are engaging in a total mind-body workout.
This got me thinking about cross-training… for your brain.
Many of us do a variety of physical exercises — cycling, swimming, running, Pilates, etc. because we know that doing a range of activities is beneficial to the body.
But how often do we consciously seek out things that expand our mental capacity? Staying mentally alert and flexible is every bit as important as staying physically strong, so we should give it equal consideration.
So, without further ado, here are four fun ways to train your brain.
Listen to podcasts
I’ve put this first because it is easy to do and there is a HUGE array of podcasts available to choose from. Listening to podcasts is a simple way to learn, be exposed to new ideas, and shake up your routine. Use a search engine like Listen Notes to find great podcasts.
Puzzles like crosswords, sudoku, logic puzzles etc. are great ways to increase your mental agility. Consistently looking for connections and learning to see the links between different pieces of information is basically weight-lifting for your brain — with repetition it gets stronger and quicker. Brainzillais a terrific source for printable or online games.
This might seem obvious but how often do we seek out new reading, even though we know it’s good for us? It is easy to fall into a routine of picking up favourite magazines or scanning a newspaper or website occasionally. Reading more challenging material — books, whether fiction or non, or poetry — can help improve our communication skills while increasing our knowledge.
Do something creative
Doing something creative is a way to really get your synapses firing. Writing in a journal, drawing, cooking, playing a musical instrument, taking up a craft — it doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it is something that inspires and energises you. If you have the opportunity and desire to learn a new creative skill, like dance or photography, or whatever, that is an incredible way to broaden your horizons.
Got a great brain-training tip? Share in the comments!