High Performing Business – Learning – Yoga
Three ways yoga helps learning
Yesterday we wrote about being wrong as a common feeling in learning (and marriage). Feeling you are wrong produces anxiety that puts your brain into a state that makes learning difficult – if not impossible. (Could this be why those in the “being wrong” type of marriage feel their spouse stopped learning the day they got married?) This is why I incorporated yoga (sans the spandex) into the classroom fifteen years ago. It’s the cornerstone of what helps Cheetah students pass the PMP exam in just four days (most people spend six months study and 40% of them fail).
Is yoga the antidote for feeling bad about being wrong when learning something new? Even if you know nothing about doing yoga, just taking time to pay attention to your breathing while you do a couple stretches helps.
Your brain can only absorb what your butt can endure. To get your brain more available for learning you have to release yourself from the chair. Once out of the chair, doing a little stretching coordinated with your breathing (i.e. “yoga”) helps put you in a better state for learning three ways:
Resets your reference points. Moving your body literally changes your perspective which is often all you need to grasp a new concept.
Gets more oxygen to your brain. Coordinating your breath with movement brings your attention to breathing which calms down an over active nervous system and engages the higher processing parts of your brain.
Brings you back to the present. The future can be a scary place, especially if you are worried about what will happen to you if you don’t pass an exam or learn what it is you are trying to learn. But living right where you are breathing – especially when that is in a warm classroom with plenty of healthy snacks, is usually a very safe place. It’s far easier to exert control over your current moment comfort right where you are breathing and bring in a feeling of gratitude and appreciation.
Give it a try next time you are rattled and feeling wrong. Get up and move around. Match your breathing to your movement. For at least ten breath cycles – it can be as easy as exhaling as you reach for your toes and inhaling as you lift your arms back over your head. Drink at least 8 ounces of water before resuming any studying. (This also guarantees you’ll have to get up and move around again in less than an hour)