Yoga keeps the brain young and healthy

Committed practice of yoga appears to benefit the brain and stave off the cognitive decline that often accompanises ageing . Brazilian researchers compared 21 female yogis, who had practised for at least eight years, with 21 women of similar levels of fitness, education and absence of depression. All the women were over 60. When they scanned the women's brains, the yogis had thicker brain structures in the left prefrontal cortex - a region associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory. Although the researchers say the study does not prove cause and effect (in theory, women with thicker prefrontal cortexes could have been drawn to yoga in the first place) it seems likely that yoga is the cause. The researchers do say, "Like any contemplative practice, yoga has a cognitive component in which attention and concentration are important. In the same way as muscles, the brain develops through training".  It would be interesting to carry out further reserach into different types of yoga as the degree to which different styles emphasise quiet focused attention may vary and therefore have different benefits.

Greater Cortical Thickness in Elderly Female Yoga Practitioners—A Cross-Sectional Study

 

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