Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yoga and Memory

Mans quest to have an excellent memory is well known from time immemorial. Some people may be born with an excellent memory but not everyone is so lucky! The key question is - is it possible to improve one's memory?

We hear of people with amazing abilities performing ten tasks at a time "(dasavadhanis)" and even a hundred "(atavadhanams)" . It is said that Swami Vivekananda had a photographic memory. He could repeat with great precision the meaning and explanations of very long words from the Encyclopedia Britannica. How could this be possible? are such abilities gifts, or can they be developed?

Of course, we may also ask whether it is necessary at all. Particularly when we have range of computers, calculators and other memory devices to assist us. A good memory may have been needed in an age when such aids were not available. However it is interesting to note that even those who use these aids extensively appreciate those with a good memory and wistfully wish theirs was as good! Everyone is convinced that memory plays a vital role in achieving success in life - both in the conventional sense as well as for personal growth and spiritual development.

The ability to remember and forget is one of the most complex and fascinating functions of the brain. It is well known that memory lapses are extremely selective; we remember some things and forget others. In some cases easy explanations for these facts can be found - a phone number which we use regularly activates a particular circuit in the brain, information flows very quickly along this well trod path, and remembering occurs. Sometimes, however, we are able effortlessly to recall information which we rarely use. Tulving a present day psychologist, has said that remembering an even depends upon i) the memory trace, i.e., the memory laid down in the brain, and ii) something in the immediate situation which acts as a retrieval cue, or prompt, to 'jog' the memory or activate the memory trace. For example, reading about wild life may help us to vividly recall an earlier visit to a game sanctuary and sometimes, surprisingly all the other details as well!.


Sthiti: Dandasana

• Inhale, raise both the arms sideways at shoulder level parallel to the ground.
• Turn the palms facing upwards.
• Continue to inhale and raise the arms further up vertically biceps touching the ears and stretch the trunk from the coccyx region. Now turn the palm forward.
• Exhale, bend the trunk forwards from the lower back. Stretch the arms, Hands parallel to the ground.
• Exhale completely, form hooks of index fingers and catch hold of the big toes. Bend the back further forward from the lumbar sacral region so that the trunk is stretched along the things and the face rests on the knee. Bend the hands at the elbow and relax the abdomen muscles.
• Maintain the position for about a minute with normal breathing.
• Return to sthiti reversing the steps and the breathing.
• Relax in Sthiti Dandasana.

Do not allow the knees to bend.

Gives flexibility to the back bone. Stimulates the spinal nerves and back muscles. Improves digestion, Energizes the whole body. Removes constipation.

People with heart ailments, back problems and spondylitis should avoid this posture.

Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
80, Chowringhee Road
Calcutta - 700002