If I say the word yoga and you immediately think of hippy chicks, incense, chanting, and those ridiculous pants, you’re not alone.
Yesterday’s yoga was often a lot like that. But things have changed.
Today, yoga is more popular than ever. Folks from eight to 89 are giving it a go.
These days nearly everyone has either tried yoga out or at least knows someone who has. And it’s definitely NOT just for hippies anymore.
In fact, it might be your turn to give yoga a shot.
Don’t worry; the pants are entirely optional. All that matters is that you test out some of the moves because new research reveals a very unexpected benefit.
It turns out yoga doesn’t just help you stretch out your aching muscles. It can help you stretch your mind too.
A new study finds simple yoga stretches could help protect, enhance, and even RESTORE your brain.
Yoga could boost your brainpower
I don’t want to shock you. But right now, at this very moment, your brain is slowly shrinking.
Every day, you literally lose a little bit more of your mind. In fact, the AVERAGE senior loses one full percent of their all-important gray matter every year.
But some folks lose even more. And the more you lose, the more likely you’ll be to suffer from cognitive struggles. Plus, a faster, more aggressive brain shrink is one of the hallmarks of dementia.
And this is where yoga comes into the picture.
Researchers say simple yoga stretches could help give you a BIGGER brain. According to the new study, yoga may be able to slow the shrink. And even more incredibly, in some cases, it could also help REVERSE it.
Researchers focused on 11 studies on yoga that looked at brain scans of people who do yoga, those who don’t, and those who didn’t do yoga but then tried it out for a few months for a study.
The folks who did yoga had bigger brains. And those who didn’t do yoga but tried it out had their brain shrink start to turn around.
A bigger brain leads to better performance
Specifically, the volunteers who did the stretches had more mass in the hippocampus.
A healthy, plump hippocampus is essential for memory and learning. Plus, it’s also one of the first spots to shrink when Alzheimer’s disease shows up.
Yoga can also enhance the amygdala, which regulates emotions, and the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision-making as well as several other key regions.
The benefits weren’t just limited to what could be seen on scans, either. In real-world tests, the folks who did yoga did better on measures of mental performance.
In other words, they had bigger brains AND better performances.
And you can too even if you’ve never tried yoga before. Because, as the study finds, the brain-boosting benefits from doing yoga can kick in after as little as 10 weeks.
So whether you find a class nearby or hunt up some free instructional videos on YouTube, in less than three months from now, you could be experiencing BIG brain benefits from doing yoga.
And like I said earlier, you don’t need those pants. No incense, chanting, or even coconut water is required either. Today’s yoga looks a lot different from the stuff you saw on TV and in movies years ago.
It’s now offered in senior centers, rec halls, and at your local YMCA. In some cases, it might even be free. And special classes designed for seniors or folks who might be less steady on their feet are available too.