Are you trying to find new ways to improve your memory, gain control over your emotions, and boost your ability to multitask?
A new brain scan study may be just the incentive you need to put yoga at the top of your to-do list.
Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy that is more than 5,000 years old. It touches the lives of humans at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual. It is a practical method for making one’s life purposeful, useful and noble. But it is more than that and that is why it has grown in popularity all over the world.
Even if you are not trying to be spiritual you will definitely benefit from yoga. And yoga can be practised by anybody regardless of age, body size. It is also safe for most diseases and illnesses and can be beneficial for those recovering from injuries.
CLEAR, STRONG MIND
Studies may have found a link between yoga’s movements, meditation and breathing practices and an increase in the size of key brain areas. Those areas are involved in thinking clearly, decision-making, memory and regulating emotions. Science may be leading us into the direction of yoga to being beneficial for healthy brain function.
Collectively, the studies pointed to a link between yoga and increased size in the brain’s hippocampus. Involved in memory and learning, the hippocampus shrinks with age and is the first part of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
KEEP CALM & DO YOGA
Yoga also appeared to expand the amygdala, a brain area involved in emotions; the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and making choices; and the cingulate cortex, which plays an important part in regulating emotions, learning and memory.
Yoga practitioners were also found to fare better on mental performance tests, the study team observed.
In today’s busy and high-pressure world, it is important to be able to control our emotions as this helps us to regulate and prevent stress. Yoga is a cure for negative emotions such as anxiety, anger and balances mood swings
FLEXIBLE, BALANCED BODY
Many of us underestimate the importance of stretching, it becomes more important as we grow older. Yoga focuses a lot on flexibility, balance and strength, especially of core muscles. This helps to improve our posture, which is important if you spend a lot of time seated at a desk. Stretching and flexibility and muscle strength prevent injuries such as lower back pains. Stretching and increased flexibility also relieves stress, which can be stored as chemical toxins in our muscles.
AFFORDABLE, FULL BODY EXERCISE
Anyone who does or has tried yoga will tell you that yoga is not easy. Yoga works all muscles, increases muscles strength and increases blood circulation. Most times all you need is a yoga mat. There are plenty of free yoga videos on the Internet. A 30mins yoga session will burn around the same amount of calories as a 30mins fast-paced walk. There are also different kinds of yoga practices, some are more physically intense than others, making yoga a good all-round exercise routine for the very unfit to the very fit.
IMPROVED GENERAL HEALTH
Yoga has been scientifically proven to improve health all around. It improves the health of the heart by lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Increasingly, people are starting to develop diseases such as high blood pressure at younger ages. Yoga also decreases inflammation in the body, if left untreated, inflammation can eventually cause cancers.
Yoga improves the quality of sleep. Sleep is a very important aspect of a healthy body. A good amount of sleep a day is important for the body to heal itself and regenerate.
There is still a lot more research that is to be done to find out what it is about yoga that is causing these effects, it would be an easy guess that yoga combines both mind and body, and is thus able to activate numerous pathways.
There is this mentality that yoga is not for men, but it is important to know that Yoga is not for sissies. It is a serious discipline and within this concept is the significant physical and cognitive stimulation.
It is also something you would need to practice repeatedly to get into the swing of things just like any new habit you be introducing to your body. It may be something you enjoy or not but that can only be determined by practising repeatedly. Before you shut down the idea or thought of incorporating yoga to your routine think of the health benefits mentioned.
It is important to try to find an activity that is physically and mentally stimulating. It also may not be something you start doing immediately but doing something research around it and its benefits may lead to the right direction and yoga may just be that activity for you.