How A Traditional Indian Technique Can Improve Your Student’s Concentration

Many see India’s educational system as unsuccessful with a severe lack of funding and poor quality. Indeed a study from the Project of International Student assessment, measuring the quality of teaching internationally, saw two Indian states (Tamil Nadu & Himachal Pradesh) come up 72nd and 73rd out of 74 in both reading and Maths. Then there are the punishments reminiscent of Victorian times, including rapping misbehaving students on the knuckles and getting them to stand on their desks or sit facing the wall as a form of humiliation. However this does not mean that we can’t learn something from Indian teachers as one of their commonly used techniques could really help your students.


The baffling exercise of Baski (AKA Uthak-Baithak or Thoppukaranam) has hit the western world by storm in recent years. Used by Hindus while praying for forgiveness it was traditionally thought to improve concentration, memory and alertness, and then employed by teachers as a punishment for unengaged children in schools across India. The exercise involves the student performing squats while crossing their arms across their chests and holding onto the lobe of each ear. But how does this help students?


Well according to master of Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga the list of benefits includes everything from energising the brain, increasing inner peace and reducing psychological stress and creating greater psychological stability right up to regulating the sex drive and helping with spiritual growth.


When scientists took an interest it seemed that many of these supposed benefits were real. One study showing that just 1 minute increased Alpha Wave brain activity and another concluding that these effects will only be felt by continuing to use the technique every day. The Alpha State which this activity induces is known to help our creativity, calmness and clarity. Indeed, the best work of an artist, scientists and even athletes is proven to be during this Alpha State.


The reasons for its effectiveness are up for debate. However acupuncturists use the ear lobes as acupuncture points in the brain and pineal gland. This has the effect of regulating mood, overall well-being and the circadian rhythm which also helps operate the body’s light-dark responses. This is how our body reacts to light and could contribute to the alert feeling that has been noticed.


The exercise works so well that a doctors across the US have been encouraging schools to begin using an adapted version called ‘Super Brain Yoga’ which has had a lot of success. For more information on the technique this article is very useful. Or for those of you who want to jump in the deep end why not try one of the instructional videos online with your students, this one is a great place to start. 

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