According to a new study, just twenty minutes of yoga could help your brain function better. Researchers at Wayne State University found that people did better, both speed-wise and accuracy-wise, on brain functioning tests after just twenty minutes of Hatha yoga, compared to aerobic exercise.
“It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources … and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout,” said researcher Neha Gothe, a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at the University.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, included thirty young female college students who underwent twenty minutes of yoga followed by meditation and deep breathing, as well as twenty minutes of aerobic exercise, such as jogging on a treadmill. The researchers had the study participants perform cognitive tests after the yoga session and after the aerobic exercise session. They found that the scores were better on the tests after the yoga session than the aerobic exercise.
“Enhanced self-awareness that comes with meditational exercises is just one of the possible mechanisms,” Gothe said. “Besides, meditation and breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn can improve scores on some cognitive tests.”