A recent study from Neha Gothe and Edward McAuley at the University of Illinois indicates if you practice hatha yoga consistently for eight weeks you could be likely to think faster and with more focus. These results come from a new eight-week study of 108 adults ranging from 55 to 79 years of age.
61 of the 108 adults attended hatha yoga classes. The remainder of the participants took part in stretching and muscle toning classes without a meditative component.
At the end of the eight week study the yoga group was quicker and more accurate when it came to information recall, task switching, and mental flexibility.
“Hatha yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that involves meditation and focused breathing while an individual moves through a series of stylized postures,” said Neha Gothe, University of Illinois graduate student.
Hatha yoga requires focus and meditation, which can in turn lead to improved brain function in other tasks, like knowledge retention, and remembering where you left your car keys.
“Participants in the yoga intervention group showed significant improvements in working memory capacity, which involves continually updating and manipulating information,” said McAuley. “They were also able to perform the task at hand quickly and accurately, without getting distracted. These mental functions are relevant to our everyday functioning, as we multitask and plan our day-to-day activities.”
Additional long-term studies are needed to fully understand the relationship between yoga and the brain. Once question I want answered is if this is just in older adults or if younger adults reap the same rewards.