- Jun 27, 2019
A Harvard Psychologist Says This Workout Dials Down Chronic Stress
One potential reason yoga has the power to change your brain is its "big impact on dialling down chronic stress," NBC writes of Greenberg's assertion. "We know stress is a very fertile ground for many physical and mental ailments," he notes.Yoga also helps to eliminate some of the physical ramifications of chronic stress, decreasing the inflammation that is triggered by it, according to a study published inInternational Psychogeriatrics; your brain listens to signals from your body, so when you feel physically calm and at ease, it will follow suit.
Yoga also has the power to shape your brain in positive ways as you age, actually turning back the clock in some ways. In a separate study featured inInternational Psychogeriatrics, adults over 55 with mild cognitive impairment who spent three months practising kundalini yoga saw improved memory as well as an increase in executive functioning (time management, attention to detail, etc.) and emotional resilience. Furthermore, Greenberg references other studies that reveal how much the brain can change with meditation: "After eight weeks of meditation training, research found that the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory, developed more grey matter density."
The right insula—the region of your brain that's involved in body awareness—is also larger in individuals who meditate. This means you're able to be more aware of when your body is responding to a stressful situation. "Knowing your reaction to stress can help you identify the emotion, nip it in the bud and prevent it from escalating," explains Greenberg. So just how much yoga is needed to begin reaping these benefits? While a single session can help aid your stress response, forthcoming research Greenberg is working on suggests40 minutes a dayis required for significant stress reduction.
Surely that's all the convincing you need to take up yoga stat. Here's the best yoga kit to see you on your way.
's thick-strapped sports bra will keep you secure, even when doing the Downward Dog.
A can help steady your balance in certain positions.
Video: My Brain Made Me Do It: How much control do we really have? | The Nature of Things
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