This Is Your Brain on Yoga

Your Brain On Yoga

Yoga Pose’s Your Brain on Yoga is an investigation of the mental health advantages of yoga and meditation. The film is produced by Yoga Pose. Yoga Pose and Mental Health America collaborated to establish a panel of medical research and personal tales of survival from the yoga and mental health communities, which was launched at the height of the COVID-19 epidemic. Your Brain on Yoga is an educational and sympathetic documentary that depicts the lives of people who suffer from mental diseases as well as the daily routines that are effective for them.

Join us as we hear from medical professionals, psychologists, yoga instructors, and practitioners, all of whom have turned to yoga to alleviate their afflictions and attain wellbeing.

Tools for Mental Health Screening

All proceeds from Your Brain on Yoga benefit Mental Health America, which will use the funds for future screening, research, and education. Show your support for Your Brain on Yoga by wearing official apparel. 10% of all sales are donated to Mental Health America, which will be used for future screening, research, and education.

Hat – Your Brain On Yoga – Lotus

Since its founding in 1909, Mental Health America (MHA) has served as the nation’s premier community-based nonprofit organization committed to meeting the needs of people suffering from mental illness and improving the general mental health of all Americans. All of our efforts are motivated by our commitment to promoting mental health as a critical component of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those who are at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who require them; and recovery as the ultimate goal.

This is your brain on yoga

As soon as you walk out of a yoga session, you will unquestionably feel better from head to toe. Your muscles will feel more relaxed, and you may even feel stronger, not to mention the mental clarity that only om-ing can provide. But what exactly is happening on in your brain as you pop in and out of downward-facing dog is not well understood. “We are aware that an increasing body of data indicates that yoga is beneficial to your body, health, and mind. Yoga has been used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, and other conditions,” says Jonathan Greenberg, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Even when applied to large groups of people, such as those in jail, it has been shown to improve convicts’ feeling of well-being and self-control.

Yoga takes the edge off

Because of all of the wide advantages, you’re probably curious about how a simple sun salutation or tree position may alter your brain’s chemistry. While the research is still in its early stages, Greenberg suggests that one possible explanation is yoga’s significant influence on reducing chronic stress. “We know that stress is a very fertile ground for many physical and mental ailments,” he says, adding that research has shown that yoga in general can help improve mood and emotional regulation, both of which are associated with reductions in the stress hormone cortisol, and that yoga in particular can help improve mood and emotional regulation.

Take, for example, a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, which discovered that mind-body activities such as yoga might actually help to reduce the cascade of inflammation that typically simmers in the body and wreaks havoc as a result of chronic stress.

You may also experience a zen-like state because yoga is working on a deeper level to reduce the pressures of the day, put them into perspective, and prepare you to cope better in the future when less-than-pleasant events occur.

Yoga helps you chill outandstay sharp

When you practice deep breathing and meditation, you may be able to influence your HPA axis (or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), which regulates your sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response that keeps your body on high alert) as well as your parasympathetic nervous system (which helps your body relax) (this tells you to chill out). According to Greenberg, yoga has been shown to lower the SNS while increasing the PNS, resulting in a drop in heart rate and blood pressure. In the same way that your body gives indications to your brain (and vice versa, of course), when your body is relaxing, your brain receives the message that everything is OK.

You’d make an excellent zombie.

According to Amy Wheeler, PhD, who serves on the board of directors for the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is a professor at California State University, San Bernardino, striking a balance between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems is essential.

Yoga, she says, has one ultimate goal: to be peaceful and aware at the same time.

Yoga molds your brain in very good ways as you age

Yoga not only helps to keep your body youthful, but it also helps to turn back the clock on your mind. Older persons (over age 55) with mild cognitive impairment participated in a 2017 research published in the journal International Pschogeriatrics, in which they spent 12 weeks either practicing Kundalini yoga or memory training. While both groups’memory improved, the yoga group had an improvement in executive functioning and emotional resilience, which the researchers believe was caused by the chanting included in this yoga, which helps to build verbal and visual abilities.

(While there is insufficient research on yoga alone, he points out that there are some implications to be drawn from meditation studies.) According to him, studies looking at how the brain changes before and after meditation discovered that brain areas involved in awareness, attention, and self-related thinking altered in structure and volume, as well as grew in volume.

“Research discovered that the hippocampus, which is important in learning and memory, had increased gray matter density after eight weeks of meditation training,” he explains.

Individuals who meditate have bigger right insulas, as Greenberg pointed out in his book (the portion of the brain that involves body awareness).

If you find yourself in a stressful position, it is critical to remain calm.

Weiss. In addition, your amygalda, the reptile region of your brain that reacts to fear, may become less reactive in reaction to stressful situations. That’s what I call a “zen mentality.”

How to get the most out of yoga

Yoga not only helps to keep your body youthful, but it also helps to turn back the clock on your mind. In one research published in the journal International Pschogeriatrics in 2017, older persons (over the age of 55) with mild cognitive impairment spent 12 weeks either practicing Kundalini yoga or engaging in memory training exercises. Even while both groups’memory improved, the yoga group had an increase in executive functioning and emotional resilience, which the researchers believe was caused by the chanting included in this yoga, which helps to develop verbal and visual abilities.

  • In addition, he points out that while research on yoga is sparse, it is possible to draw conclusions from studies on meditation.
  • You also have your memories to fall back on.
  • Also noteworthy is the fact that, when confronted with difficult situations, many yogis maintain their composure – something that leaves you scratching your head in astonishment.
  • What a positive development.
  • Weil.
  • Take that, zen mentality, for example.

More “This Is Your Brain On”

  • What happens to your brain when you’re depressed
  • It is amazing what the beach does to your head. Your thoughts and feelings during prayer and meditation
  • Your mind is on a diet

Would you want to see more tips like this? We at NBC News BETTER are passionate with discovering new and better ways to live that are simpler, healthier, and more intelligent. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is Your Brain on Yoga

On the other hand, this is nearly invariably what I hear from individuals who haven’t truly tried it out themselves. Yoga practice has evolved over the previous quarter century from a yuppie health craze to a standard piece of medical advise from practically any physician who is worth his or her salt. It comes down to the fact that increasing your strength and flexibility via daily practice of yoga postures (“asanas”) is beneficial for both your physical and mental well-being, and that this is the most common piece of advise.

“Well,” you could argue, “couldn’t it just be that you’re doing regular exercise in general?” To which I would respond, “Without a doubt!

It may seem intuitively obvious if someone were to give a brief explanation of what a yoga practice entails; however, students who persevere for a week or two will realize that the real goal is to gain mindful control over your body and emotions; although a yoga series can appear to be just a lot of boring stretching when you are first starting out, students who persevere for a week or two will realize that the real goal is to gainmindfulcontrol over your body and emotions.

  • It urges you to work with yourself gently, to swallow your pride, and to do the best you can at the time without overextending yourself or others.
  • (Did I mention that you are also losing weight and feeling fantastic?
  • And do you know what else?
  • When compared to other types of relatively low-impact physical activity (such as walking), yoga appears to be more effective for reducing anxiety and alleviating the symptoms of depression, according to research.
  • So, in summary, we appear to be aware that something is occurring, but how?
  • Recent research on the neurochemistry of yoga, on the other hand, gives some indications as to how yoga can exercise its anxiolytic benefits.
  • 1,2GABA is known as the “grand inhibitor” in the brain, because it is responsible for a significant portion of the suppression of neuronal activity.


In addition, the researchers analyzed GABA levels immediately before and after an hour of yoga, and they discovered a 27 percent boost!

You may credit GABA receptor binding for the sensations of relaxation and lowered anxiety that accompany the consumption of an adult beverage.

See also:  How Prashad Encourages More Conscious Cooking

imply that the meditative stretching and breathing that yoga entails is signaling the brain to produce calming chemicals, which then manifest their effects on mood in the hours after a yoga session.

It is possible that the GABA released during a period of regular yoga practice might help improve baseline levels of this calming neurotransmitter, so assisting the brain in rewiring itself to have a calmer, less anxious reaction in the face of everyday stressors, as shown by the research.

beer or yoga?” realize that the serenity you receive from drinking beer will fade, but the calm you get from practicing yoga may last longer.

It is preferable to conceive of it as a complimentary approach for the time being, in my opinion.


Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13:419-426, 2007.

Streeter, C.C., Whitfield, T.H., Owen, L., and colleagues The effects of yoga vs walking on mood, anxiety, and GABA levels in the brain were investigated in a randomized controlled MRS trial.

Gray, J.


An investigation into the activities of the septo-hippocampal system in the neuropsychology of anxiety (2nd ed.).

Four authors (Granath J, Ingvarsson S, von Thiele U, Lundberg U) have published a paper in which they discuss their findings. Yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy for stress management: a randomized controlled trial 2006;35:3-10. Cogn Behav Ther 2006;35:3-10.

Your Brain on Yoga

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We would much appreciate it if you could assist us. What’s wrong with this preview of Your Brain on Yoga by Sat Bir Singh Khalsa? Please tell us what’s incorrect. Please accept our sincere thanks for informing us about the situation. Begin your examination of Yoga and the Human Brain Tuesday, September 02, 2017 It was a big hit with the audience. A good summary of yoga and the benefits it has for both the body and the mind. Numerous (brain) studies that indicate the advantages of yoga are reviewed in this authoritative, well-researched, and yet easily understandable overview.

  1. A good summary of yoga and the benefits it has for both the body and the mind.
  2. Bonus: a simple guide to determining which form of yoga is most appropriate for you.
  3. Dr.
  4. Dr.
  5. Khalsa and his studies—a favor that broad did for me.
  6. Dr.
  7. The Science of Yoga, written by William Broad, introduced me to Dr.

The book does include some of Khalsa’s research, such as a study with young musicians at Tanglewood that studied how the practice of yoga strengthened their equanimity and how this was documented in the book.

Khalsa’s scholarly output.

Despite the fact that it presents stories in a manner that is appropriate for a layman’s guide, it would not be well-regarded in an academic environment.

This is a pretty short book, with only approximately 50 pages in total length.

Khalsa, the book is divided into five chapters.

The second chapter goes into the impacts of stress on the body and mind (not all stress is inherently bad, as is addressed in the chapter.) The second chapter looks at the effects of yoga on the body and how it may be used to treat a variety of common diseases.

The findings of research on the effectiveness of yoga in treating depression and improving one’s mood are presented in Chapter 4.

The last chapter provides an overview of the many styles of yoga in order to aid readers who are new to yoga in determining which style would be most appropriate for their requirements and temperament.

In India, a couple of the designs described are popular, although I don’t believe they are as well-known in the Western world.) In spite of the fact that it is a short book, this work covers a wide range of themes, including, but not limited to, the effects of yoga on sleeping patterns, the immune system, neuronal plasticity, memory, mathematical abilities, and mood.

  • These activities are often found near the conclusion of chapters.
  • In the study of old approaches such as yoga, I’m a huge believer in taking a scientific approach to the subject.
  • It’s incredibly brief and easy to read and comprehend.
  • This was something I really wanted to like.
  • The writing style is uninteresting, with numerous lines beginning with “One research discovered,” however there is not enough information offered to truly develop an opinion on any subject matter.
  • This was something I really wanted to like.
  • The writing style is uninteresting, with numerous lines beginning with “One research discovered,” however there is not enough information offered to truly develop an opinion on any subject matter.
  • The latest research on the effects of yoga and meditation on the brain is highlighted in this easy-to-read e-book.

February is the most inclement month of the year, at least in the northern hemisphere. We have the holidays to keep us occupied in December, and the promise of a new year in January. Welcome back. For the moment, please wait while we sign you in to YourGoodreading Account.

This Is Your Brain on Yoga

According to Nikesh Bajaj, DO, a neurologist who specializes in sports neurology and traumatic brain injury, researchers are still trying to figure out the exact mechanism, but they suspect it has something to do with the way these practices stimulate different areas of the brain associated with mood, memory, and emotion.

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe, often known as the “command center” of the brain, is home to the main motor complex (which governs movements of the face, arms, and legs), as well as areas responsible for decision-making and problem-solving. Processes in the frontal lobe are responsible for controlling our behaviors and moods as well as practicing restraint. Yoga has been shown to increase frontal brain functioning, according to the research.

Limbic System

Survival activities like as feeding and reproducing are linked to the limbic system, a complex network of nerve cells that is involved in our sense of smell, memory, and emotional responses. Compassion-based meditation, according to research, has been demonstrated to improve the limbic system.


The hippocampus is a small region of the brain that is involved in learning, emotions, and memory. It is located inside the limbic system. Multiple studies have found that yogis have a larger hippocampus volume than nonpractitioners, which leads in improved working memory compared to nonpractitioners (depression is strongly linked to memory problems).

Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe is a multipurpose powerhouse that covers the key centers for feeling. It is the area of the brain that is responsible for body awareness, which is very important while going into yoga postures and other physical activities. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to enhance the thickness of the parietal lobe in studies.

Occipital Lobe

The parietal lobe is a multipurpose powerhouse that covers the key centers for feeling. It is the area of the brain that is responsible for body awareness, which is especially important while going into yoga postures because it is responsible for balance and coordination. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to enhance the thickness of the parietal lobe in research studies,


The cerebellum (sometimes known as the “small brain”) is responsible for coordination of movement and balance. A key component of being able to stand in Tree Pose or Virabhadrasana III (Warrior Pose III) is the ability to ground yourself here. Yogis have higher levels of gray matter in their cerebellum, which is associated with improved memory, attention, and motor performance, as well as fewer cognitive failures, according to research.


The brainstem, which connects the brain and the spinal cord, is responsible for the regulation of some urgent, involuntary processes such as respiration and heartbeat. The pontine tegmentum, located towards the top of the brainstem, is assumed to be responsible for controlling the body’s sleep-wake cycle. It’s possible that this is why yoga has such a good impact on sleeping quality: When you practice yoga, the neurons that link deep breathing with relaxation and anxiety are situated deep inside the brainstem, providing you with the sensation of meditative peace that envelops your body throughout practice.

Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland, which is about the size of a bean, acts as the primary link between the neurological system and the endocrine system, which includes the glands throughout the body that create hormones that regulate everything from growth and development to metabolism. Brahmari Pranayama (Bee Breath) has been demonstrated to have a direct effect on the pituitary gland by reducing blood pressure, according to research.

Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe is responsible for the processing of auditory speech and language. The amygdala is located here, and it is responsible for the regulation of emotions and desires. According to research, those who meditate and practice yoga have greater emotional balance and reserve because their amygdalas are less activated in particular areas, resulting in less activation of certain regions. According to Yoga Journal, this article is part of a special report titled “How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health.” More information may be found at:

  • When You Need to Cultivate Calm: How Yoga Can Help You Feel Better
  • When You Need to Cultivate Calm: How Yoga Can Help You Feel Better
  • Several Techniques to Reduce Anxiety
  • A Digital Detox with a Mindful Approach
  • Breathe in tranquility, and exhale fear. How Yoga Assisted Me in Surrendering

This Is Your Brain On Yoga – Wanderlust

“There is nothing good or evil except for the fact that one believes it to be so.” “William Shakespeare” is a phrase that means “William Shakespeare” in Shakespearean slang. Leave it to old Bill to have been aware of the concept of neuroplasticity back in the day when he was scribbling Hamlet by the light of a candle (around 1603). Indeed, as Jonah Lehrer’s eye-opening collection”Proust was a Neuroscientist”demonstrates, artists have foreshadowed notions that were later hailed as scientific “discoveries.” Lehrer points out, among other chapter-by-chapter observations, that Marcel Proust was the first to recognize that memory is faulty and constantly changing, and that Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” was an avant-garde musical exercise to demonstrate that what the mind initially rejects as offensive can later be perceived as beautiful once the brain recognizes and becomes familiar with the patterns therein.

  • What significance does this have for a yogi’s practice?
  • Please bear with me while I elaborate.
  • Let’s put you in the position of the artist in this scenario, where you are the one who is re-designing your brain via the use of imagination.
  • However, let’s keep things on the ground (or on the mat) and make sure that everything is completely pertinent to your yoga or meditation practice as possible.
  • “How the Brain Changes Itself,” by Norman Doidge, is devoted to the power of imagination in Chapter 8 of his book.
  • In order to determine the accuracy of their playing, both groups had their brains mapped before and after they began playing.
  • The power of imagination, as a result, may be used to any skill you’re refining or new activity you’re trying.
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Imaginary exercises help to engage and develop the motor neurons that are responsible for stringing together sequences of movement commands.


To take it a step further, simply seeing ourselves utilizing our muscles can really help to develop and tone our physical muscles (see the YueCole research on page 204 of Doidge’s book).

Consequently, although this teaches us to harness the power of imagery as we plan out our goals, it also emphasizes the critical significance of becoming vigilant about what we let to enter our stream of consciousness.

If all of this seems a little too Buddhist to you, I’d say you’re on the right track, and I’d agree.

It would be wonderful for me to sit down with you over a glass of wine and talk about this concept (and anybody interested in participating in such a discussion should read the magnificent book “The Universe in a Single Atom” written by the Dalai Lama).

Beyond the notion that your imagination controls your neuronal firing (and remember, neurons that fire together, wire together), there is the notion that memory is not a physical imprint, but rather something that can be shaped and transformed.

According to Drs.

As a result, the complex orchestra that plays when we access a singular memory also activates other neural networks, which means that each time we recall something, we are not necessarily recalling the “thing” in question: rather, we are accessing the same neural pattern that was evoked the last time we remembered that “thing.” Once this happens, the “object” becomes entangled with other connections, similar to how ripples in water come together when many stones are tossed.

It’s not so much the pebble as it is the overall pattern on the water that we remember from that day.

In addition, and in keeping with our previous point about being aware of the impact your conscious thoughts have on your brain, cheerful individuals are more likely to recall good experiences, whereas depressive people are more likely to recall memories of trauma, humiliation, and misery.

130, General Theory of Love, states that Bringing the discussion back to Pascual-Leone, he illustrates this with the analogy of tobogganing down a snowy hill: the first time we descend an untracked hill, we select the course through our steering (which is our will), as well as the terrain’s unique features (think of this as our genes).

  • It is also particularly intriguing for yogis (who are by and large gregarious and communal animals) to extend and apply these fundamentals of neuroplasticity beyond our own bodies to the real network of people with whom we interact.
  • Specifically, they look into the idea that our personal identity is partially malleable due to the presence of ‘Limbic Attractors,’ which are roughly equivalent to neural connections but more deeply ingrained in one’s limbic/emotional brain.
  • “Continuous exposure to another’s Limbic Attractors not only activates neuronal patterns in another, but it also enhances those patterns in another.
  • We become the people we associate with.
  • Due to the mental quietness you’ve achieved, you have been able to concentrate on what you want to be mindful of in your mind and to let go of the bad ideas and busy-ness that saturate our everyday life.
  • The energy that is flowing between your brain and heart does not stop at the boundary of your body; rather, it is something that is picked up on and increased by people with whom you associate yourself.
  • So you believe, so you are, and this pervades and is mirrored in the people you associate with.
  • We’ll talk about it over a glass of organic syrah at Winederlust in the evening.
  • While working as the Digital Marketing Director for Wanderlust, Karina Mackenzieloves enjoys hosting the Speakeasy Lecture Series and indulging her geeky-meets-creative side.

Ryan Salm shot the cover image. Gaiamand’s Brain Yoga Mat is available for purchase here. WLHQ columnist and co-founder Sean Hoess, the author’s spouse as well as WLHQ resident genius, deserves to be recognized as the column’s title sponsor.

How Yoga Changes Your Brain

Emmy Lymn explores how yoga may be beneficial in ways more than only the body, and how it can also have a great influence on the mind and emotions. One of the most popular misunderstandings about yoga is that it is simply another kind of exercise. This is incorrect. Perhaps this is due to the fact that people frequently witness yogis stretching and doing pretzel-like positions. The fact, however, is that the advantages of yoga extend well beyond their physical manifestation in the body. We can now observe how consistent practice changes your brain, owing to contemporary technology and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Yoga Increases Gray Matter Density

The majority of the tissues in our brains are divided into two categories: white matter and gray matter. A typical human brain is made up of around 60% white matter and 40% gray matter, according to the American Academy of Neurology. Despite the fact that both serve critical functions in maintaining optimal cognitive functioning, each kind of brain tissue performs a different function:

  • Gray matter is made up of the cells or neurons in your brain. Despite the fact that it is referred to as gray matter, it is actually pink in hue. This is due to the fact that blood is always flowing through it while you are alive. After you die, the color changes to gray. Gray matter is responsible for many of your brain’s activities, including learning and memory, because of the high concentration of neurons in this area of the brain. It is also in charge of the operation of your senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch, as well as their interpretation. Aside from that, it has a negative impact on your muscular control and awareness. On the other hand, white matter is the network of connections that bring your brain cells together. Your brain’s duty is to link various regions of your brain together, just way the internet links different parts of the globe together, by allowing different parts of your brain to transmit and receive messages from one another. White matter in good condition, on the other hand, permits the brain to coordinate both its ideas and its motions.

In general, gray and white matter work together to help you to think, coordinate movement, and understand the environment around you. They are complementary to one another. Damage or decrease in any one or both of these areas has an impact on your cognitive ability in one way or another. According to current study, yoga has been proven to increase gray matter volume in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain, which is important for memory and learning (1).

How does this help you?

It was discovered via extensive research into structural brain scans that a person’s general intelligence is correlated with the amount of gray matter present in a specific location of the brain in that particular person. Essentially, the greater the amount of gray matter in a certain part of your brain, the greater the number of cells present in that region, and the greater the likelihood that that region will perform better. Here are a few illustrations:

  • Taxi drivers in London’s black cabs are well-known for their thorough knowledge of the city’s streets and their ability to maneuver through congested traffic. As a result, these people have a greater amount of gray matter in their hippocampus, which is important for memory and spatial navigation (2)
  • And In comparison to amateurs and non-musicians, professional musicians have much more gray matter in the Broca’s area, the motor, auditory, and visuospatial regions of the brain, as a result of their years of music training (3).

The regular use and practice of control in your postures, breathing, and mental activity leads in increased gray matter density and activation in your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which is similar to the effects of meditation. Allowing you to enjoy a better experience as a group:

  • Controlling one’s emotions and impulses
  • Maintaining focus and attention
  • Increasing your awareness of your surroundings and your own feelings
  • Decision-making skills, as well as the ability to evaluate rewards and consequences more accurately. Additionally, be more ready to postpone satisfaction (4).

It Increases the Folds in Your Brain

On the internet, you’ll undoubtedly notice that the surface of the human brain has bumps and wrinkles, which indicates that the brain is a living thing with a lot of moving parts. While this does not make it attractive to look at, it is critical to your capacity to think clearly and critically. They are known as cortical folds, or gyrification in medical or scientific terms, and they appear on the forehead and around the eyes and mouth.

These folds are where your brain cells are located. They are also present in order to expand the surface area of your brain. That is a positive development. After all, who doesn’t like to have a few more brain cells to play with?

Why does your brain have folded tissue?

This is due to the fact that your brain must fit within your skull. And, since your skull is so little, it must find a method to’squeeze’ itself into the space available. Consider the process of packing a tiny luggage to get a sense of it. There is just so much room available. It will be difficult to fit everything in if you spread out all of your clothes in one place. Nevertheless, if you fold your items neatly or wrap them up, you will have more room in the same little luggage. Most importantly, folding or rolling your garments does not alter the size of your shirts or pants when you are wearing them.

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In this procedure, which employs the same principle as gyrification, the twisting and coiling of your brain tissues are visible as folds in your skull.

Where does yoga fit in?

Holistic yoga is comprised of three basic components that are designed to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in the practitioner. These take the shape of yoga positions (asanas), breathwork (pranayama), and meditation, among other things. When it comes to your brain, the feature of meditation plays a significant part because it is associated with increasing the amount of folds in your cerebral cortex (5). UCLA researchers discovered that long-term meditaters had increased gyrification of their cerebral cortex when they performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans.

According to this particular example, the anatomical alterations in the brain were caused by daily meditation for at least 20 years, and maybe much longer.

Considering that your cerebral cortex is responsible for functions such as language and reasoning as well as perception, information processing, and memory, as well as voluntary movement, an increase in gyrification provides for improved functioning as well as quicker information processing.

It Lets You Relax More by Reducing Stress and Anxiety

One of the most commonly cited advantages of yoga is a feeling of calm following a yoga session. It is true that this connected body-mind connection is a welcome respite from the busy pace of modern life, but it does not stop there.

Yoga and Relaxation

Post-practice relaxation has been cited as one of the key advantages of yoga practice. It is true that this related body-mind connection is a welcome respite from the busy pace of modern life, but the benefits do not stop there.

  • GABA is a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical messenger in your brain. Its function is to inhibit neuronal activity in order to keep your brain from being overexcited. It does this by controlling the amount of fear, tension, worry, or nervousness you may experience. Yoga has been shown to enhance GABA levels by 27 percent, according to research (6). In fact, according to another study, yoga is even more effective than walking when it comes to relaxing and reducing anxiety (7)
  • And the release of happiness hormones. Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins are the happiness chemicals that work together to make you happy. It is because each of them makes you feel better about yourself and your overall well-being that they are so well named. Taking dopamine as an example, it helps you feel gratified and allows you to experience pleasure. Meanwhile, serotonin lowers tension, which aids in the relief of stress and anxiety.

These molecules work together to help you relax and feel satisfied. It is for this reason that many yogis will tell you that they feel happy after taking a class of yoga.

Yoga and Stress Reduction

When you practice yoga, you may reduce your stress reaction, which is one of the reasons you are able to relax (8).

A yoga practice causes specific portions of your brain to slow down and relax, which is beneficial for your health. This capacity assists you in de-stressing, which occurs in two primary parts of the brain: the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.

  • A lobe in the frontal lobe. In terms of cognitive abilities, the frontal lobe is the most sophisticated area of your brain since it is responsible for the majority of your planning, decision-making, and reasoning. Additional benefits include increased self-awareness and improved emotional control. As you can imagine, when you are confronted with a dilemma or when you are feeling self-conscious about anything, this section of your brain is working overtime. During yoga, on the other hand, your frontal lobe takes a vacation. As a result, the Parietal lobe allows you to take a rest for a short period of time. This area of the brain is in charge of processing all of the information received from your senses. It takes in all of the sights, sounds, and other things that you are aware of in your environment. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of activity that takes place when you’re always on the go, whether working, driving, or simply watching things around you. Yoga, like other forms of exercise, causes your parietal lobe to slow down.

That is not the end of it, though. Yoga also has the additional benefit of decreasing your body’s cortisol and adrenaline levels, which are both important stress chemicals. The stress reaction is triggered when you are under stress or when you foresee something distressing about to occur in the near future. It is as a result of this that your body releases stress hormones, which assist you in becoming more attentive while also increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. All of these symptoms are caused by your body being inundated with stress chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline, among others.

  1. It enables us to deal with situations more effectively and concentrate better when we have to take an exam or deliver a presentation.
  2. The opposite is true if you lead a hectic lifestyle and are always stressed out.
  3. This is due to the fact that your stress hormones induce various processes in your body to occur, resulting in the impacts described above.
  4. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are all dangerous disorders that can develop if they are not treated properly over an extended length of time.
  5. Yoga, according to one research, has been shown to lower cortisol levels in the body (9).

Yoga and Anxiety

Anxiety and stress are intimately associated with one another. They are not, however, the same thing. Stress is the physiological response that your body creates in response to a threat. Once that circumstance has passed, the tension is no longer there. A different type of anxiety, called panic disorder, can be brought on by stress as well as a variety of other circumstances (to name a few: trauma, brain chemistry, environmental influences, genetics, use or withdrawal from substances, etc.) Continuous concern, restlessness, jerking movements, inability to concentrate, and difficulty sleeping are all common signs of anxiety, as is being unable to concentrate.

  • This is when yoga comes into play.
  • The amygdala in your brain is one example of this (11).
  • It receives and processes signals from your senses and internal organs.
  • Thus, it has a significant impact on your emotions and how you react to them, with fear being the most prominent of these feelings you experience.

The lowering of gray matter in your amygdala as a result of yoga indicates that there is less activity in this portion of your brain as a result of yoga. As a result, you’re more adept at dealing with fear and other negative emotions. In addition, you’ll be able to unwind more easily.

Final Thoughts

Stretching and other complicated motions are typically associated with yoga poses, which are generally conceived of as a series of postures. As a result, its advantages are frequently seen as purely physical. Its consequences, on the other hand, are far-reaching. The combination of yoga positions, breathing exercises, and meditation causes structural changes in your brain to take place. Among the consequences of this are changes in the size of specific sections of your brain as well as changes in your cognition and how you deal with emotions, stress, and anxiety.


The following articles may be found at: (1) meditation changes your brain and makes you feel-b-470030863 (2) taxi memory (3) third party percent third party 3Apubmed percent third party (4) (5,6); (5)(6)NLM (National Institutes of Health) PubMed ID: 20722471 Sigma Pubs Online Library (Wiley) doi/pdf/10.1111/wvn.0012097 Yoga has been shown to lower stress, according to research published in the journal PMC3768222.

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ACE – Certified™: February 2020 – Your Brain on Yoga–changes–your–brain–and–makes–you–feel–b–470030863 (2)–taxi–memory-b–470030863 (3) The URL is: percent 3Apubmed (4) (5,6); (5)(7)NLM (National Institutes of Health) PubMed ID: 20722471 Sigma Pubs Online Library (Wiley) doi/pdf/10.1111/wvn12097 ncbi (National Institutes of Health) PubMed ID: 20722471 Yoga has been shown to lower stress, according to research published in the journal PMC3768222.

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Yoga Reduces Stress and Improves Cognition

According to the findings of the studies, the brain alterations observed in yoga practitioners are connected with improved performance on cognitive tests or measures of emotional regulation. As Gothe points out, the fact that yoga may have brain-related benefits that are similar to cardiovascular exercise is fascinating and needs more investigation. “Because yoga is not an aerobic activity in nature, there must be other mechanisms at work that are causing these brain alterations,” she explains.

According to her, studies have linked stress in people and animals to shrinking of the hippocampus, as well as decreased performance on memory tests, among other things.

“Yoga has been shown to reduce cortisol stress response.” Those who practiced yoga for eight weeks had a lower cortisol response to stress, which was connected with higher performance on tests of decision-making, task switching and attention, according to the researchers.

“Yoga practice helps to enhance emotional control, which in turn helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression,” she explained.

They recommend large intervention studies in which participants participate in yoga for several months, in which yoga groups are matched with active control groups, and in which changes in the brain and performance on cognitive tests are measured using standard approaches that allow for easy comparisons with other forms of exercise.

In Damoiseaux’ words, “the data suggests that yoga is useful for maintaining healthy brain function,” but “we need more rigorous and well-controlled intervention trials to corroborate these first findings.”

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