Two women looking calm and relaxed while doing a yoga breathing meditation in an open field.

“Sorry, I’m not finished with my report yet.” 

I kept saying this sentence many years ago. There were many days at work that I couldn’t seem to finish a task. If was able to, it would take a considerable amount of effort, such as turning off my phone, wearing earplugs, and locking myself in the office. But even during these moments of great effort, I still got distracted, not by the noises outside or my co-workers, but by my thoughts. 

Do you know what helped me? Yoga

“Yoga citta vritti nirodha” or “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind” is the second verse in the first chapter in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. 

When I started practicing yoga (now a yoga teacher), I began to learn to let my thoughts flow without getting caught up. I stopped swimming against the waves of my thoughts only to end up washed up to the shore. I learned to ride the waves of my thoughts like a surfer in control of the waves. 

It takes time, though, and it starts with asanas. After all, the purpose of asanas is so you can sit comfortably in meditation and gain control of your thoughts.

Here are yoga poses that you can start with to achieve mental clarity.

Savasana or Corpse Pose

A woman doing Savasana or Corpse Pose on a dark gray yoga mat in an indoor studio.

Savanasa is the final resting pose in yoga and probably the most favorite pose of many people. What’s not to love? It’s a relaxing pose that comes after all the exhausting poses. You lie down and stay still for a while. While physically it is comfortable, it works your brain and improves your mental clarity.

Savasana allows you to observe your thoughts without the distraction of movement. You take a mental break from thinking of the poses so you can focus on the physical sensations and your thoughts while not moving. This sounds easy, but it’s pretty challenging. 

Most of us can’t turn off our minds, and that’s why we keep moving and doing. Savasana helps with mental clarity by helping you become aware of the sensations of your body and how your thoughts are flowing without clinging to them.

Here’s how to do Savasana:

  1. Lie down on your back. Spread your legs as wide as the mat and bring your hands to your side.
  2. Close your eyes and try to relax your whole body and face.
  3. Stay still for a couple of minutes. 

Just a note, you’re not supposed to sleep in Savasana even if you’re lying down for a few minutes. It’s a mental exercise. Savasana is the time when you stay physically still and observe your thoughts.

Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Fold

A woman doing Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Fold on a purple yoga mat inside a botanical garden.

Our lifestyle of sitting in front of our computers a few hours a day gives us tight hamstrings and low back. This tightness is a cause of distraction. To remove this distraction, we have to release the tightness in these parts of the body. 

Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Fold is a yoga pose that stretches the low back and the hamstrings. It is a nourishing pose that gives you an excellent opportunity to introspect as you turn your gaze away from what’s in front of you to fold forward. 

Here’s how to do Paschimottanasana:

  1. Sit on your mat and extend your legs forward. For those with tight hamstrings and can’t fully extend their legs, bend your knees or prop them up with blocks or rolled-up towels. Keep the toes pointing up.
  2. Inhale and bring your arms up to create space in the front body.
  3. Exhale and fold forward, allowing the hands to land beside your legs or toward your feet.
  4. Stay in this pose for five or more cycles of breath.

Vrikshasana or Tree Pose

Two women doing Vrikshasana or Tree Pose on their dark gray yoga mats inside a fitness studio.

To improve your mental clarity, you need to exercise your mental capacity. The stress you give to your brain will create new neural pathways, which provide you more brainpower. A great way to give an opportunity for your brain to create these pathways is to challenge it through a one-legged balancing pose such as Vrikshasana or Tree Pose.

Tree pose improves your focus as you engage the muscles in the standing leg while engaging your core muscles at the same time. The amount of concentration it needs to be stable and not fall in this pose only makes your brain stronger. 

Here’s how to do Vrikshasana:

  1. Stand tall in your Tadasana or Mountain Pose.
  2. Shift your weight to your right foot and slowly lift your left foot up. Bring the left foot to the side of your right shin or your right inner thigh. Keep your left hip externally rotated.
  3. Once you find your balance, bring your arms up. 
  4. Stay in this pose for five or more rounds of breath.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Natarajasana or Dancer’s Pose

A woman doing Natarajasana or Dancer’s Pose on a dark gray yoga mat inside a fitness studio.

Natarajasana is another one-legged balancing pose that will challenge you to concentrate while remaining calm. Also called Dancer’s Pose, Natarajasana opens your chest and hips and strengthens your leg muscles. 

Here’s how to do Natarajasana:

  1. Stand tall in your Tadasana.
  2. Shift your weight to your right leg. Once you find your balance, bend your left knee and bring the left foot close to your buttocks. Then grab the left foot with your left hand. 
  3. Once you find stability, bring your right arm up and slowly tip forward. 
  4. Stay in this pose for five or more cycles of breath.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Garudasana or Eagle Pose

A woman doing Garudasana or Eagle Pose on a blue yoga mat inside a fitness studio.

Garudasana is an asana that channels the high and mighty eagle. Even when the eagle soars high, it remains focused on its prey. As an asana, it requires you to use your eagle eye so you can maintain your drishthi (concentrated gaze) so you can stay stable.

Here’s how to do Garudasana:

  1. Begin by standing in your Tadasana or Mountain Pose.
  2. Bend your knees and hinge from your hips to enter the Chair Pose. 
  3. Once you find your stability, slowly shift your weight to your right leg and bring the left knee on top of the right. If you can, cross the left foot over the right shin. Make sure your right foot is firmly rooted to the ground.
  4. Bring the right elbow on top of the left elbow. If it is available to you, cross your forearms until your palms meet. If not, bring the backs of your hands together. Your elbows should be in front of your chest.
  5. Stay in this post for five cycles of breath or more.

Navasana or Boat Pose

A woman doing Navasana or Boat Pose on a mustard-colored yoga mat inside a fitness studio.

Having a strong core helps you find ease and stability in yoga. Even in seated meditation, core strength plays a significant role. You wouldn’t be able to sit straight and still without using the core for a few minutes. That is why it is necessary to build core strength in yoga. One of the asanas that can develop core strength and build mental and physical focus is Navasana or Boat Pose.

Here’s how to do Navasana:

  1. Sit on the floor or the mat with your legs extended forward. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your back straight. Put your hands beside your buttocks. 
  2. Inhale to bend your knees, and you start leaning back. Exhale and engage your core. Then, lift your feet off the mat. Start with your knees bent. Once you find stability, you can bring your hands in front of your chest.
  3. Stay in this pose for five or more rounds of breath.

Sukhasana or Easy Pose

A woman doing Sukhasana or Easy Pose on a dark gray yoga mat, with some incense and candles on the side.

Sukhasana or Easy Pose is a basic posture in yoga. It’s the most common posture for practicing meditation. It helps you sit comfortably so you can concentrate and begin to meditate.

Here’s how to do Sukhasana:

  1. Sit on your mat or directly on the floor with your legs extended. Keep your back straight. If you cannot keep your back straight, sit on the edge of a yoga block or some rolled-up towels. 
  2. Then, cross your ankles and place your hands on your knees. 
  3. Look forward and stay in this pose for a few cycles of breath.

Having mental clarity makes it easy to make better decisions and get things done. It also helps in feeling calm and content. With consistent practice, these yoga poses for mental clarity will help you achieve a clearer mind.