August 10, 2014
We often get asked if yoga is good for the aging brain. While it is still a relatively new field of study, early research appears to suggest that it can have positive effects on the brain.
Here are 4 ways that yoga benefits the brain:
- Yoga may improve mood. A small pilot study found that people who regularly practice yoga have an increase in GABA levels in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter involved in mood, and people with low GABA levels may experience anxiety and depression.
- Yoga may maintain fluid intelligence and protect the brain in aging. A study of yoga and meditation practitioners found that they exhibited greater fluid intelligence and brain resilience in aging as compared to their matched controls.
- Yoga may help with PTSD and other kinds of stress. A study in women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that while both the yoga group and a control group improved, the yoga participants maintained the benefits of the treatment while the control group relapsed into PTSD symptoms soon after treatment.
- Yoga may improve executive brain functioning in older adults. A study in older adults found that those who practiced Hatha yoga for 8 weeks improved in measures of executive function.
Do you practice yoga? Are you thinking about starting?