We sure know and have seen many people living a healthy and happy life because of practising Yoga. Yoga is an ancient science. Initially, it is quite intimidating to see people practising yoga in pretzel-like positions. We see people doing stretches. But yoga is not just another way to work-out your body(Though the by-product is also fit body). It is not solely a way to exercise or solely to lose weight. It is a holistic way of keeping our body in line with our soul and learn to maintain a perfectly balanced body and mind.
There were times when yoga was considered to be something only yogis perform on mountaintops. It was considered to be “woo” or to have imaginary effects which were believed to be true(just placebo). Now we have imaging such as MRIs to prove those “Oh! Not real” falsifications wrong and show that regular practice affects your brain.
Yoga is a holistic approach to life as mentioned earlier. Yoga combines physical postures, rhythmic breathing and meditative exercises. This ancient science not only enhances our brain but we also find a notable change in the structure of the brain itself. Know-how.
Increase in Gray matter
The human brain consists of gray matter and white matter.
Gray matter consists of brain cells or neurons. Gray matter is responsible for many of our brain’s functions including learning skills and memory. It is also responsible for the functionality of interpreting your senses of sight, hearing, smell and touch. It also affects your muscle control and self-awareness
White matter is connections that extend from your brain cells. It connects different sections of the brain. White matter connects different areas of the brain by allowing it to send and receive signals to one another. Healthy white matter allows your brain to coordinate your thoughts and movements.
Recent researches have shown that yoga increases grey matter volume in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the brain. Some comprehensive studies of structural brain scans have shown that a person’s intelligence is associated with the volume of gray matter in a specific area of the brain. Therefore if you have a thicker volume of gray matter in a particular region in your brain, you would be likely to perform better in that specific area. Eg. If the gray matter is thick in areas that correspond to you practising the violin, then you are performing better at it.
Professional musicians are seen to have more gray matter in the Broca’s area as well and in the motor, auditory, and visuospatial regions of the brain. Similarly, yoga practitioners show increased gray matter density in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. This corresponds to better
- Focus and concentration
- Emotional and impulse control
- Tune with your senses and self-awareness
- Decision making with delayed gratification
Yoga increases the folds in your brain
When we see the picture of a human brain we can notice its surface is made of bumps and wrinkles. These wrinkles are called cortical folds or gyrification. But what does more folds mean? It means that there is an increase in brain cells and the brain is trying to fit into the limited spaced skull by creating a fold. This increases the surface of your brain.
Yoga boosts your mood
Regular practice of yoga results in a release of neurotransmitters that relax you and lower your stress and anxiety levels. Chemicals such as gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA), dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphin. Each of these has its own benefits fo calming you down and feel better.
GABA suppresses neural activity and prevents your brain from getting overly excited. Therefore it controls how much fear, stress, anxiety or nervousness. Research shows 27% of GABA levels in regular yoga practitioners again no increase in no regular yoga practitioners. Yoga is even better than walking to relax and reduce anxiety.
Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins are called happiness hormones. These hormones make you feel better about yourself and your well-being. Together these chemicals help you relax and feel content.
Yoga boosts productivity
Being in a stress-free, the ailment-free state increases your productivity. Yoga helps you overcome procrastination, gives better focus, form better relationships with problem statements and its solutions. It is like, taking away the hurdles one by one. This means you can run faster with ease right? You productivity reaches a new high. Whatever you is clear and stays longer in memory. You become more resilient and are not easily distracted.
These are the benefits of yoga. But can you do all this by just reading this? The practice is all you need. Sign up for a yoga Learning Session and see the amazing changes for yourself. You’ll need nothing else to prove you.