Additionally, the vagus nerve—part of the fight-or-flight parasympathetic nervous system—is stimulated with diaphragmatic breath, which is used in yoga, Pirozzi explains. "When the cortex is operating in healthy ways, we have stronger problem-solving ability, improved judgment, and language skills, which are often compromised by brain fog," she says. In a general sense, the increased attention to awareness that you practice in yoga can benefit you once you step off of the mat, too.
"Most yoga practices share the idea that our individual awareness, how much we notice things, can improve," says Ross Rayburn, a Peloton yoga instructor. "Just like exercise can help clear [brain fog], exercising with awareness and other yogic practices can have a grounding effect and can shift your perspective." With movement as a catalyst for shaking things up, the fog can clear much easier, he says.
While yoga pros say that any kind of practice can give you mind-clearing benefits, Rayburn points out that going upside down can be particularly effective. "There is some evidence that inversions, which range from downward dog to a headstand, even legs up the wall, can help with brain fog," he says. And core-focused moves are good, too. "When the core is weak and the spine is compressed, we don't have full access to our diaphragm," says Pirozzi. "Any postures that include backbends, twists, and deep core work are especially helpful." So hit these poses up whenever that fog strikes again.
Or try this core-focused yoga sequence, courtesy of yoga pro Val Verdier:
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