My OT partner was raving about this new exercise she had heard about this week: Superbrain Yoga. She said it’s supposed to increase the brain’s effiency via acupressure. And then she demonstrated the exercise for me. How simple it seemed! Perhaps too simple. Could this be a case of neuro-bunk? She said we should do this with all our patients, since many of them have neuro diagnoses or are elderly who could benefit from a brain boost anyway. In discussing the exercise with other co-workers, I learned that one of the PTAs I supervise has been trying it out on her elementary aged children for a few weeks now and is monitoring for changes. Naturally, my interest was piqued, so I went looking for the research.
Superbrain Yoga is supposed to do the following according to the method’s creator, Yoga Master Choa Kok Sui:
- energizes and activates the brain by improving connections between the hemispheres
- increases inner peace
- reduces psychological stress and increases psychological stability
- increase intelligence and creativity
- regulates sex drive
- partial cleansing and energizing effects on the chakras and auras
- transformation of lower energies into higher energies
- proper functioning of the brain
- increases pranic flow of energy in the body
- spiritual growth
Although I didn’t find any research papers, I did find this PDF that summarizes several pilot studies (which don’t have a reference, but is accompanied by some interesting figures) and a news article that stated that there are research studies slated to look into this. The PDF also goes into what exactly is suspected to change physiologically when one performs Superbrain Yoga– enhanced alpha brain waves, which are seen to occur in relaxed alertness with eyes closed are purported to inhibit areas of the brain which are not in use and enhance brain network coordination and communication. There is a book written by the Yoga Master that invented this that details his own “research”– more likely observations– in using his techniques. All of that to say there isn’t any real research out there yet on this topic, which limits it’s credibility in my and any medical professionals’ eyes, BUT if as that video states an MD, a neurobiologist, an OT and a teacher are sold enough to incorporate the exercise into their professional roles, AND it’s really that simple to perform, I think it’s worth trying at least. Of course it would have to be performed with folk that have the baseline balance and cognitive skills (following multi-step commands) to perform the exercise accurately and safely. If nothing else it would could be looked at as increasing strength and balance!
So how do you do Superbrain Yoga?
- Remove any jewelry.
- Face east, if possible.
- Place your tongue at the roof of your mouth as if you are going to say “la.” Keep your tongue there throughout the exercise.
- Cross your left arm across your body and pinch your right ear lobe with thumb facing forward.
- Cross your right arm across your body on top of the left and pinch your left ear lobe with thumb facing forward.
- Position your feet at hip width apart.
- Inhale through your nose and squat down slowly at the same time. Ensure that your knees do not pass beyond your toes.
- Hold this squatting position for 2-3 seconds if possible.
- Exhale through your mouth and slowly rise.
- Repeat 7-12 times.
- Once your have completed your repetitions, unravel yourself in the opposite direction it was created– return feet to normal standing position, place right arm at side, and then left arm at side, remove tongue from roof of mouth, replace jewelry and return to your daily life!
Who wants to try it with me for a couple weeks? Let me know in the comments!