According to a newly released study, practising Hatha yoga can dramatically improve brain functions throughout an individual’s daily life. It’s also a similar effect if the individual practices a quiet meditation.
The study was released in the ‘Mindfulness’ journal, published by the School of Public Health, as well as including input from the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada.
Current statistics and estimates show that over 36.7 million people in the US alone practice yoga regularly. That’s a huge jump from the 20 million people back in 2012. Simultaneously, around 18 million practice some form of mindfulness meditation on a regular basis.
The Yoga & Meditation
Easily the most commonly practised form of yoga, especially in the Western World, is Hatha. This is renowned for being an active blend of both yoga and meditation. This is because there is a major focus pull towards breathing and relaxation.
During these Hatha practices, an individual must focus on what’s going on in their body and their minds. However, this should be achieved without forms of judgement. However, it’s worth remembering that these practices can also be practised individually.
The Brain Functions
The effect that Hatha Yoga has on the brain is known as executive function. Primarily, this function occurs in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. In short, it controls the mental ability, physical body control and memory aspects of our bodies.
Some researchers and scientists will also tell you that this function is essential for other aspects of life. These include the ability to make decisions, situation awareness, attention and problem-solving.
This recent study was set up to test the effects that Hatha Yoga has on this area of the brain. The study consisted of 31 averagely healthy people. They also had experience in the practice of Hatha yoga to a ‘moderate level’.
The individuals then how to set about completing a series of tasks. To make things fair, none of the subjects completed the tasks in the same order as another. The order itself was assigned randomly.
Before each session, the researchers in charge of the study monitored and evaluated their subjects executive function activity. The tests took place at the beginning of each session and then at 5 and 10 minutes intervals after the session had been completed. The test was carried out using the official ‘Stroop’ technique.
The results were clear. Many of the studies participants had dramatically increased their executive function statistics after completing a Hatha Yoga session. There are also reports of elevated moods and increased mental and physical energy.
So, there we go. Another study that proves the benefits that yoga, or Hatha Yoga, has on the mind and body. If you’re still considering starting yoga for the first time, why not just give it a shot, whether you’re at home or your fancy joining a class. Get ready to unlock a new, happier, more productive you!