Yoga not just for body, but also brain: Researchers

Los Angeles, June 6 (IANS) The enormous benefits that regular practice of yoga yields in increasing the flexibility of the body is well known. Researchers now show that a 20-minute session of yoga significantly boosts brain activity immediately afterwards.

A report in Science Daily showed that participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice, than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time.

The 30 study subjects were young, female, undergraduate students. The Journal of Physical Activity and Health reports in detail the findings of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures but also regulated breathing and meditation," said Neha Gothe, who led the study while a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

"The practice involves an active attention or mindfulness component but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored."

"Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the US. It is imperative to systematically examine its health benefits, especially the mental health benefits that this unique mind-body form of activity may offer," said Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley, who directs the Exercise Psychology Laboratory where the study was conducted.

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