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January 22, 2020 • Healthy Living

How Yoga Affects Your Brain

yogi sunset yoga
Yogi’s rejoice! A new review study reports that yoga serves up a slew of brain benefits, comparing favorably to aerobic exercise. For this evaluation, researchers focused on 11 previous studies looking at yoga and brain health. All of the studies used brain imaging techniques like MRI to assess brain structure. The findings were compelling. Many key areas of the brain were positively impacted by the yoga. They included:
  • An increase in the size of the hippocampus, the memory center
  • An increase in the size of the amygdala, the emotional regulation center
  • An increase in the size of the prefrontal cortex, the planning and executive function center
All in all, these changes translate to better memory, less stress, less emotional reactivity, and an enhanced ability to perform complex tasks. That is a remarkable list of benefits for a practice that is now broadly accessible and highly enjoyable for most. I practice yoga twice a week and have found it to be a Godsend, physically and mentally. (3)

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3) Brain Plasticity, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.3233/BPL-190084