It has always been known that practising yoga postures frequently has many health benefits. A new research has added to the advantages yoga can bring to one person’s life. According to the findings of the study, doing yoga on a regular basis can change the structure of a person’s brain and protect them against cognitive decline in old age.
A the onset of the study, the researchers wanted to know if elderly long-term yoga practitioner had any differences in terms of their brain structure when compared to other healthy elderly people who did not practice yoga.
To reach their findings, the researchers recruited a small group of female yoga practitioners who had practised yoga at least twice a week for a minimum period of eight years.
The researchers imaged elderly female yoga practitioners’ brains, and they found out that that the “yoginis” (female yoga practitioners) have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in their brain areas which are associated with cognitive functions like attention and memory.
As a person ages, their structure and functionality of brain changes which often causes cognitive decline, including impaired attention and memory. One of these changes also involves thinning of the cerebral cortex, which is shown to have a correlation with cognitive decline.
Researchers, however, say that if a person practices yoga on a regular basis then these cognitive ailments can be avoided in later stages of their lives.
Commenting on the findings of the study, one of the researchers Elisa Kozasa of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil said, “In the same way as muscles, the brain develops through training.”
“Like any contemplative practice, yoga has a cognitive component in which attention and concentration are important,” Kozasa added.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
Source: Economic Times