24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Staying at Home During the Pandemic? Use Technology to Stay ConnectedSoaking in a Hot Bath Might Do Your Heart GoodIndoor Athletes Often Lacking in Vitamin DHow Many Steps Per Day to Lengthen Your Life?Can You Buy Happiness? Yes, Study Suggests, If You Spend on ExperiencesAHA News: Coronavirus News on Social Media Stressing You Out? Here's How to Handle the AnxietyDon't Abandon Healthy Eating During Coronavirus PandemicAHA News: 'Be Happy' Isn't So Simple, Especially Amid Coronavirus Worries – But It's Seriously Good for HealthHealthy Living at Home to Ward Off CoronavirusKeeping Coronavirus Anxiety at BaySquat, Don't Sit: Study of African Tribe Shows Why One Position Is HealthierWill a Jolt of Java Get Your Creative Juices Flowing?Get Ready for Clocks to 'Spring Ahead'Erratic Sleep Habits May Boost Risk of Heart Problems: StudyFish Oil May Help Prevent Heart Disease, But Not Cancer: StudyDirty Air Cuts Millions of Lives Short Worldwide: StudyWant to Help Keep Diabetes at Bay? Brush & FlossAre Your Vaccinations Up to Date?Healthy Heart in Your 20s, Healthier Brain Decades LaterMore Than 4 in 10 Americans Are Now Obese: CDCHeading to Work on a Bike? You Might Live LongerIs Your Smartphone or Tablet an Injury Risk?How Safe Is It to Fly?Variety is Key for the Fittest AmericansFor Tracking Steps, Patients Stick With Phones, Not Wearable Devices: StudySocial Media Stokes Myths About Vaccines5 Expert Tips for Preventing Winter Sports AccidentsMany Americans Lack Knowledge, Not Desire, to Eat Plant-Based Diets'Couch Potato' Lifestyle Poses Danger to Women's Hearts5 Secrets to an Allergy-Free Valentine's DayRestful Romance: Smelling Your Lover's Shirt Can Help You SleepHow Does Social Media Shape Your Food Choices?AHA News: How a Happy Relationship Can Help Your HealthTexting While Walking Is Risky BusinessShovel That Snow, but Spare Your BackSpring Time Change Tied to More Fatal Car CrashesHealth Tip: Healthy Ways to Deal With SadnessEating Out: A Recipe for Poor Nutrition, Study FindsHealthy Living Helps Keep the Flu at BayNew Clues Show How Stress May Turn Your Hair GrayHealth Tip: Warning Signs of Drowsy DrivingAHA News: Can Social Media Be Good for Your Health?Sunscreen Chemicals Absorbed Into Body, Study FindsCould a Switch to Skim Milk Add Years to Your Life?Many Americans Are Inactive, With Southerners Faring WorseWhy Tidying Up Is Sometimes Harder Than ExpectedProbiotics: Don't Buy the Online HypePot-Using Drivers Still Impaired After the High Fades'Burnout' Could Raise Your Odds for A-fibHealth Tip: Healthier Ways to Use Social Media
Links
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

Yoga May Bring a Brain Boost, Review Shows

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Dec 31st 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Dec. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Looking for a way 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 New Years' to-do list.

The review of 11 published studies 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.

"The science is pointing to yoga being beneficial for healthy brain function, but we need more rigorous and well-controlled intervention studies to confirm these initial findings," study co-author Jessica Damoiseaux said in a news release. She's an assistant professor of gerontology and psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The review, published Dec. 26 in the journal Brain Plasticity, found the brain benefits of yoga are similar to those from aerobic exercise.

Why isn't yet clear. More study is needed, the authors said.

"Yoga is not aerobic in nature, so there must be other mechanisms leading to these brain changes," lead author Dr. Neha Gothe said in the news release. "So far, we don't have the evidence to identify what those mechanisms are."

Gothe is director of the Exercise Psychology Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Five of the 11 studies used brain imaging before and after newbies followed a regimen of at least one yoga session per week for 10 to 24 weeks. All used a regimen called hatha yoga.

Other studies compared brain scans of yoga practitioners and people who had never tried yoga.

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.

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.

Dr. Thomas Vidic, a neurologist at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Ind., who was not involved in the study, said he was not surprised by the findings.

"There have been numerous studies that show that mental and physical activity is useful [and] probably necessary -- to maintaining brain function," said Vidic, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

For now, however, "we cannot separate out what it is about yoga that is causing these effects, [but] it would be an easy guess that yoga combines both mind and body, and is thus able to activate numerous pathways," Vidic added.

So should those who've never been drawn to yoga before but might like the potential brain benefits give it a go?

Definitely, Vidic said. But, he added, if you haven't been active, start slow and join an appropriate group.

"Yoga is not for sissies," he said. "It is a serious discipline and within this concept is the significant physical and cognitive stimulation."

And, remember, you won't become competent overnight. But, Vidic said, you can become an enthusiast on day one.

"I believe that everyone needs to find an activity that is physically and mentally stimulating," he said. "And for many people yoga is a great activity."

More information

Learn more about the benefits of exercise on the brain at the American Heart Association.