The effects of yoga on the brain

Yoga is a centuries-old form of movement that is more popular today than ever. Yoga is also still evolving, with many different disciplines. All variants of yoga have one thing in common: they connect body and mind. The fact that physical exercise offers many physical benefits is now scientifically proven and widely acknowledged. What makes yoga unique is the combination of movement, conscious breathing, and meditation. The positive effects that people experience through yoga have aroused the interest of neuroscientists. Recent research shows that yoga not only improves brain functions; it even changes the structure of your brain.

What science has discovered

The research tries to answer the question why yoga is so good for you, especially on a cognitive level. We can already tell you that there is no concrete answer, but we can give you a nice overview of all kinds of benefits for your brain. The research divides people into two categories: those without a yoga background, and yogis with years of experience. The researchers discovered that yogis have more grey matter in their brains than non-yogis. They also found that yoga affects the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex, among other part of the brain. These effects, and the increased grey matter in yogis, for example, are linked to a higher intelligence.

The positive effects

The positive effects of yoga on the brain can be noticed in daily life. Your memory gets better, the regulation of emotions improves, and anxiety and aggression decrease, while feelings of pleasure and happiness increase. With a clearer brain, it is also easier to carry out complex processes, such as solving problems and making choices and plans. This can be particularly valuable as you get older, as cognitive ability generally decreases later in life.

Visible results in just 10 weeks

Although the research has not shown exactly how yoga causes so many structural changes in the brain, there are many indicators that point to the combination of breathing, movement, and meditation. In addition, the current research results invite further research. One thing is certain: even after only ten weeks of practicing yoga, there are noticeable benefits. Give it a try, join one of our free classes on our YouTube channel.

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Paula Jap Tjong & Annelies Bakker
Paula Jap Tjong & Annelies Bakker

We are two Dutch yogis on a mission: bringing people together in the spirit of yoga. We create online Chair Yoga classes and a teacher training certification program accessible anywhere in the world.

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Chair Yoga Pose
We are the platform for Chair Yoga practitioners and teachers. Chair Yoga World is committed to inviting people to keep moving and relaxing regularly; a must for our well-being and vitality. We do this by facilitating all kinds of exercise and relaxation programmes.
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