If you speak to anyone who regularly practices yoga, you will hear them reel off the health benefits, from helping with backpain, feeling more flexible to feeling more energetic, but what some people don’t tell you is the neurological benefits of practising yoga. Yoga can help our brains in a variety of ways, here’s what you need to know!
When we work, have emotional stresses from home amongst everything else that is going on in our day to day lives, we can often feel like information goes in one ear and out of the other. When you practice yoga, even just twice a week, it can help the brain with information processing and memory retention. The reason for this is because yoga is a very calming and restorative exercise and through the reduction in stress it can help other areas of the brain work more effectively. For further in-depth learning, you can see https://www.889yoga.com
Reining In Those Free Flying Thoughts
When you practice yoga, the concertation element comes from controlling breathing and maintaining our posture. When we are doing this, we are pulling in all those thoughts that previously seemed like they couldn’t be tamed. This control we illicit over our thoughts can help us feel more emotionally balanced as well as being less susceptible to stress. This will also help keep your negative emotions in check, as you will be focusing on the positives of the practice.
The benefits of yoga aren’t just ones we feel physically, there have been multiple studies conducted to see how yoga impacts our brain and synapses. It seems that practicing yoga as little as twice a week can help us increase the neurological connections in the cortex that help with problem solving. So, not only will you feel more rested, you will also be able to take on the day!
The Aging Brain
Getting older is a part of life and it is unavoidable, but you can help slow the impact of it and surprisingly yoga can help do that too. In a study conducted in the USA. They scanned the brains of people who had been practising yoga for an extended period of time, a group of people who didn’t practice yoga and then a group who they started on a 12-week course. The results showed that the group that had been practicing yoga for a long time had an increase of grey matter volume in their brain, which is related to better mental function, especially during aging. Furthermore, the people that started doing yoga for the purpose of the study, also began developing more grey matter volume too. So, yoga can help slow brain degradation in aging practitioners.
Nervous System Responses
The slow movements and breathing techniques performed in yoga can help sooth our nervous systems. Everybody has a parasympathetic nervous system, this nervous system is the one that works with the adrenal gland to promote the flight or fight response. When we are stressed this system can cause the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline which promotes that response. Practicing yoga can help to tame the response of the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce the fight or flight response, which overall reduces stress and increases the feeling of calm.
Helps With Sleep
When we are stressed, upset or anxious, falling to sleep or even staying asleep can be very difficult. When we practice yoga, we are giving our mind a well needed break from the daily stresses we are faced with. This can also be translated to our sleep, we can practice the breathing techniques we have learnt from class which can help us fall into a peaceful, deeper sleep.
It is common knowledge that exercise helps the brain release serotonin, but what we previously thought to be reserved for runners and people who are training for triathlons is also produced from a good yoga practice. Regular yoga practice will increase the realise of happy hormones and at the same time will reduce the amount of cortisol, or stress hormone in our body, resulting in a happier, calmer self!
Yoga doesn’t just help us build up our strength and flexibility, research is now showing that it can help our minds too. If you start to regularly practice yoga, you will find that it can help you improve your problem-solving ability and memory retention, especially if you practice long enough. This can also help us into old age and promote less brain degradation than those who don’t practice. Furthermore, yoga can help us manage everyday stressors and even reduce our overactive flight or fight response. If this doesn’t sell you enough about starting yoga, maybe the idea that your brain can produce the happy hormone, serotonin, without having to run a marathon might!