How to Stimulate Brain Function with a 20-Minute Yoga Session

How to Stimulate Brain Function with a 20-Minute Yoga Session
Have you been having difficulty focusing at work or find yourself unable to remember what you reviewed for your exams lately? If the answer is yes, then you should consider practicing yoga for at least 20 minutes a day. A recent study has reported that a 20-minute session of Hatha yoga heightened participants’ speed and accuracy when asked to take tests that measure their working memory and inhibitory control.These two functions are primarily associated with the brain’s capacity to focus as well as receive, process, and retain new information. Individuals who engaged in the study, who were 30 young, female undergraduates, has been shown to perform better after a yoga session than those who engaged in moderate to intense aerobic exercise for the same period of time.

The recent findings were published on the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Neha Gothe, the person who initiated the study back when he was a graduate student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is currently a professor Wayne State University in Detroit teaching Kinesiology, Health, and Sports Studies.

According to Professor Gothe, the practice of yoga has long been thought to contribute to enhance the brain’s mindfulness but there has not been enough research on the actual impact yoga has to the multiple functions of the brain.

The 20-minute yoga session consisted of a series of seated, standing, and supine postures that involve the utilization of various muscle groups and particular breathing techniques. Participants ended the session with a meditative posture and a deep breathing technique. The aerobic exercise, on the other hand, involved walking and jogging alternately for the same amount of time, but at an agreeable speed and incline. The goal is to achieve and maintain at least 60 percent of the maximum heart rate during the exercise activity.

The result has been nothing short of extraordinary as the participants reacted more quickly and more accurately on tasks that required the use of the brain’s cognitive function when practicing yoga than on aerobic exercises. Gothe said that the breathing and meditative exercises are aimed at keeping the mind and the body at a relaxed state, keeping distraction at bay while a person is thinking or doing his or her daily activities.

Yoga and the Body

Yoga is a Hindu way of life that revolves around spiritual and ascetic discipline. It focuses on the adoption of specific physical movements and proper bodily postures, as well as regulated breathing and guided meditation. The purpose of yoga is to improve health and facilitate relaxation.

From being an ancient science and way of life, it has penetrated Western societies and became a popular form of exercise among the young and the old, men and women alike. Many A-list celebrities and other high-profile individuals are passionate patrons of yoga, influencing more and more people to practice this ancient discipline.

There is an increasing need to provide concrete evidence of yoga’s health benefits as more and more people are getting hooked on it. The idea that it is mainly a physical activity that has a positive impact on both the mind and the body has made it such a popular form of exercise. Benefits of such an activity focused on meditation and balanced physical movements can enhance an individual’s self-awareness and also reduce stress and anxiety.

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