I’m not always a fan of the dedicated yoga junkies at the gym. But just because I’m slightly jealous of their skinny, flexible bodies and their calm and collected demeanors, I really don’t have a good reason to shoot down the numerous health benefits associated with this ancient practice.
And now it turns out that as little as 25 minutes of yoga or meditation per day can boost your cognitive function and help combat fatigue.
Bending and stretching your mind and muscles
In this latest Canadian study, about 30 participants were assigned to do 25 minutes of hatha yoga, 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation, and 25 minutes of quiet reading (a control task) in a randomized order.
For those of you who don’t know, mindfulness meditation involves breathing deeply and calming your thoughts and emotions, while hatha yoga combines meditation with a combination of physical poses.
I’m assuming you already know how to enjoy reading a good book.
During the study, the researchers measured the participants’ energy levels and executive function — a measure of your brain’s processing power — before and after each task.
The results showed that the participants performed significantly better on cognitive tasks after both yoga and meditation than they did after reading.
The researchers also found that yoga and meditation in particular were effective at increasing energy levels — and yoga proved more powerful than meditation alone in boosting energy.
The theory is that both yoga and meditation help you tune out the “static” of your daily life and give your brain a rest from processing life’s little details.
And we could all use a little help with that.
That means that after a yoga or meditation break, your brain is better able to focus on the tasks at hand.
And since the movements of yoga also increase blood flow to your brain and release “feel good” brain chemicals, it makes sense that combining meditation with yoga poses provides even greater benefits.
So, if you feel like your brain is sluggish and you are dragged down by fatigue, make some free time each day to practice yoga or meditation. And since there are many more advantages to striking a yoga pose, ranging from improved sleep to protection from cognitive decline, there are enough reasons for you to check out a gentle yoga class for beginners.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Yoga and Meditation Boost Brain and Energy Levels, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/yoga-meditation-boost-brain/2017/09/06/id/812034/
Examining the Acute Effects of Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Function and Mood, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-016-0661-2