Yoga is the fastest growing fitness segment in North America. And the average age of the practicing yogi is now over 45 years old.
Maybe it is because yoga isn't just about stretching. People know that yoga great for strength and flexibility, but the benefits on brain function are even greater.
After just 20 minutes, you will see a boost in focus and memory. After a few months, regular yoga practice can help improve stress levels, provide a better night’s sleep, lower blood pressure, and even contribute to increased bone density.
Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” instinct, also known as the “rest and digest” part of the body. This system helps the brain to wind down and relax.
The brain releases all kinds of good feelings after a yoga session. Scientifically speaking, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin levels rise. These happy brain chemicals leave you feeling more creative and energetic while also reducing anxiety.
Many people who suffer from anxiety or depression see a huge benefit to doing yoga. While the happy brain chemicals increase, cortisol levels decrease. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress and fear, and also decreases the size of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which deals with discipline and self-control.
While the physical benefits of yoga might be obvious, the effects on the brain are significant and can’t be found in many other types of exercise. With so much evidence supporting regular practice, what is stopping you from giving yoga a try?