A new study suggests that 20 minutes of yoga a day is good for the brain.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice of meditation to touch base with one’s own consciousness and the environment. This practice is best achieved by combining exercise, breathing, and meditation. We would normally see people practicing Yoga to be doing seemingly impossible poses.
While you think it will break your bones to do the Yoga poses, a study from Wayne State University in Detroit showed that Yoga is still better than doing vigorous exercise routines. The researchers decided to do the study because they haven’t seen any study that has explored the benefits of mindfulness.
Neha Gothe, lead author of the study and professor of kinesiology, health and sport of Wayne State University, and her team asked 30 female students from Illinois University's Exercise Psychology Laboratory to do experimental yoga sessions. They were given postures and physical movements of standing up, lying down, and sitting to improve their breathing and meditation. After the movements, they were asked to meditate and focus on their breathing. The entire session lasts 20 minutes per day.
The researchers also compared the benefits of yoga to vigorous exercises by asking them to run in the treadmill for 20 minutes as well. The pace given is enough to raise their heart rate by up to 70 percent.
The participants were asked to take a cognitive assessment after each session. The assessment revealed that the participants were less able to concentrate on mental tasks than after their yoga session. Thus it proved that just 20 minutes of doing physical movements and breathing on a daily basis can effectively improve a person’s mental ability in terms of memory and concentration.
“Many factors could explain the results. Enhanced self-awareness that comes with meditational exercises is just one of the possible mechanisms. 'Besides, meditation and breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn can improve scores on some cognitive tests,” told Gothe told in an email to Daily Mail.
The result of this study was published on Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
Yoga has been gaining popularity in the U.S with about 15 million Americans practicing it. 72 percent of the yogis are females but the age range of most practitioners is 18 to 54. It is not too late yet for those over 55 as there are still 18 percent who can do yoga.