Yoga has a lot of benefits; increased flexibility, strength building and injury prevention to name but a few. However, have you ever considered that yoga might actually be as good for our brain as it is our body?
A recent pilot study has explored the link between yoga and cognitive decline and functional connectivity as we get older. The study, which used participants suffering with mild cognitive impairment, aimed to find out if there is a relationship between yoga and improved brain function.
The study was carried out by looking at participants performance during memory tests and resting-state functional connectivity, before and after practicing yoga. This was then compared to an active control group of participants (also with MCI) who received memory enhancement training.
The results showed that both groups performed significantly better after the experiment. However, only the yoga group showed improvements in mood and also scored higher in visuospatial memory (the memory that allows us to retrace our steps and find our way home and recognise what different shapes are).
These findings indicate that practicing yoga could be as effective as using traditional memory enhancement techniques in improving functional brain connectivity in relation to verbal and memory tests. However as with most studies there are limitations; the participant group was small (only 25 people) so further studies on larger test groups are needed in order to prove the findings on a bigger scale.
So there you have it, alongside all the traditional benefits of yoga, it could also help you feel happier and help you stop forgetting stuff. I'd say that's enough to warrant giving it a try!