Our level of functioning depends on the level of activity of our brain. Given the world we live in, it is the workings of our brain that can really determine whether we make it or break it, in our particular field. However, we shouldn’t presume that our brain is working fine and thus ignore it as the brain too, is susceptible to external factors like stress, anxiety and the like, which combine to reduce its cognitive abilities. What’s more, these stressors can trigger forgetfulness and even more severe brain problems like memory loss.
However, there is some good news about all this. The simple meditation exercise of yoga has been found to have excellent effects on a person’s brain. From boosting one’s cognitive performance to causing increased concentration and accuracy, yoga was seen to be more effective than normal aerobic exercises when it came to increasing brain power. So in order to ensure that your brain remains at its optimum level, even as age catches up to you, you need to make sure you include yoga in your daily routine.
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Yoga and its Open Boundaries
Being part of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, Yoga has come a long way in being more than just a philosophy. Not only does it impart spiritual and moral appeal to a person, but the discipline it professes, be it physical, mental or spiritual, is very useful in bringing about a sound body and calm mind.
Apart from the many physical benefits to health that yoga carries, it is also carries with it the ability to maintain cognitive control, especially with regard to memory, attention and arousal control. This is because meditation is found to be effective in clearing the mind and this, in turn, has an effect on the person’s ability to pay attention to certain stimuli and recall information related to them.
Yoga – Contributing Significantly to Mental Health
The reason yoga is good for mental health is because it packs mental, spiritual and even physical benefits that can be very useful when a person is struggling with health problems that have arisen due to stress.
Yoga meditation requires one’s complete attention when moving from one exercise to another. This is how it is able to benefit the mind by boosting concentration and focus. The moment you start to learn to control your body through meditation, your mind and emotions start to get in sync with it. Thus, not only will these exercises make you physically flexible, but they will also help in improving your mental balance, giving you a better outlook to life.
A study conducted at the University of Illinois, showed that yoga enabled students to process information faster, focus better on mental resources, learn and grasp knowledge in an easier manner. The meditation aspect of yoga was seen to calm the mind and keep distracting thoughts at bay, thereby allowing for better concentration.
Yoga Overpowers Brain Training Techniques
When it comes to keeping your brain in shape, inactivity is your biggest foe. You need some kind of activity to improve your cognitive functioning. While physical activity certainly helps, yoga was seen to add to these benefits. For instance, depressed people who meditated before exercising witnessed an improvement in their mood when compared to those who did just one of these activities. Since many people do not have the time or inclination for exertive exercising, yoga was seen as the alternative that helped fortify people’s brains and improve their ability to think.
In comparison to even brain training exercises, yoga is seen to be much better when it comes to improving memory and mood. Yoga helps boost communication among various parts of the brain, promoting the ability to multi-task and focus.
Hatha Yoga – Making Waves in Boosting Mental Abilities
Hatha yoga, which is an ancient spiritual practice has been found to be very effective in boosting one’s cognitive functions. This form of yoga involves meditation and concentrated breathing while moving through a range of postures. One requires a lot of focus and effort when moving through the poses, breathing and concentrating on the body movements.
Practicing Hatha yoga has helped make people more accurate and quicker in their mental processes. It certainly gives a boost to flexibility and multitasking and has also shown improvements in the working memory functions like manipulating and updating cognitive information. All of these activities are relevant to everyday functioning, thereby ensuring greater efficiency in carrying out the activities, does go a long way.
Doctors also opine that Hatha yoga has quieting effects on the body’s sympathetic nervous system, leading to an improved stress response of the body.
How Does Yoga Benefit the Brain?
- Apart from depression and anxiety, yoga has proven to be effective in treating mental disorders like ADHD, schizophrenia and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Even when compared to aerobic exercises, yoga was found to have greater benefits. For instance, engaging in just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga can boost the speed and accuracy of a person’s mental function to a much greater degree than jogging would do.
- For teenagers, yoga is very useful in helping one improve their emotional resilience and better cope with anger.
- Doing yoga on a daily basis provides people with a similar effect to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy.
- Given that yoga also affects your emotional well-being, it is very effective in improving stress related imbalances that may arise in your nervous system.
It is believed that the wide-ranging positive effects of yoga go so far as to alter genetic expression. Even the simple relaxation that is induced by meditating impacts about 2,209 genes. From improving sleep and immune system functioning to reducing the risk of hypertension, migraines and heart disease, simple yoga exercises go a long way in stimulating one’s brain and a person’s brain will keep growing as long as it is made to respond to stimulation and learning. This is why yoga is essential for mental fitness because these mentally stimulating tasks are very effective in keeping the brain fit.