Yoga is an ancient practice that has provided us with countless mental, physical and (in some cases) spiritual advancements.
However, today we will be focusing on the brain-boosting effects of this practice rather than the metaphysical effects.
We will be going over what is yoga, what is brain function, how they go hand in hand as well as some additional tips on giving your brain the optimal amount of improvement(s) possible.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a practice that challenges the mental and physical self simultaneously. It consists of a collection of 84 unique yoga poses (A.K.A asanas).
With it’s various poses, the combinations are endless! This practice is all about experimentation, focus, and connecting the mind and body.
Originally created as a Hindu practice with the primary motive being spiritual enhancements, this practice is incredibly ancient, yet it is still practiced around the world today. Spiritual or not, anyone can benefit from yoga!
What is brain function?
Brain function is the complex control over thoughts, memory, emotion, touch, vision, temperature, motor skills, breathing, hunger and every other process that regulates our body.
Working together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up our central nervous system. To say the least, brain function could be the single most impactful bodily function, meaning it is incredibly vital to keep our brains healthy, happy, and functioning at their highest!
But what does yoga have to do with this? Let’s take a look at this now!
Does yoga boost brain function?
These two very different things actually have a strong link when practiced together. Yoga is perhaps best-known for its ability to improve flexibility and bodily strength.
However, new studies suggest it may have similar benefits for your physical brain, as well! We have known that yoga can enhance brain function for quite some time…
However, new research in the field tells us that it can also change the physical structure of your brain in some notable ways.
This new research involved analysis of subjects using Hatha Yoga, which is a form of yoga that works with connecting the link between conscious breathing and movements. Essentially, yoga practitioners showed higher volumes of grey matter in the brain which is linked to better mental function and more cortical thickness.
Having cortical thickness is quite the advantage when looking at brain functioning and general brain health!
The physical aspects of your brain have everything to do with the functioning of it. Increasing your cortical thickness will inevitable boost brain function! Additionally, these kind of structures in the brain often lead to a higher capacity of intelligence.
We thought for many years that we could only boost brain function by high-intensity exercise(s). The takeaway from our newest research is telling us otherwise! Low-impact, slow-moving exercise like yoga is now highly associated with improved brain structure and therefore boosted brain function!
Even though none of the studies conducted thus far were able to determine the exact reason why yoga (specifically) creates these structural changes, it is theorized that the combination of movement, controlled breathing, and meditation is more powerful for brain health than one of those components on its own.
Or, perhaps, it is that one of these three components that brings out another and amplifies its effects… Either way, as time goes on we will figure out the exact reasons why yoga is so effective when needed an extra brain boost!
Foods that boost brain function
Not only does yoga help your brain, but so does food!
This may be obvious for some, but it is important to be reminded of the significance of diet. Whenever you eat a meal, snack, or sipping on a drink you are either working for your brain or against it.
Along with staying hydrated and well-rested, feeding your body the right foods is vital to good brain health. There are many foods that are specifically beneficial to the human brain.
Check out these different types of food that boost brain function:
- Healthy fats
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts & seeds
- Green Tea
Of course, there are many helpful foods you can get your hands on that will nourish your mind and body. The list above is short and sweet, however, it only goes on and on.
Best nootropics to boost brain function
Nootropics are a category of health supplements that specifically benefit brain health and function. Some nootropics are naturally occurring, while others are made in a lab. These substances offer many benefits for the brain.
Each nootropics hosts its very own unique properties, applications and benefits. Some are better for focus, some are better for memory while others are best for stress and mood-stabilizing. The nice thing about nootropics is that there is a supplement for any brain needs, meaning you can truly optimize your stack and ensure you are getting exactly what your brain needs. Here are the best nootropics to boost brain function:
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Lions Mane Mushroom
- Alpha GPC
- Rhodiola Rosea Extract
Combining all 3 things (yoga, nootropics, brain foods) will not only result in a boosted brain but also a long, happier, and healthier life! When you are considering brain health, you are also considering longevity. In order to live a long life, you will need to put in a little bit of effort. It may seem like a lot, but when it comes down to it all these little sacrifices are a small price to pay!
What will you do next- yoga, eat some tasty brain food, or take a nootropic supplement?
Either way, your brain will be thanking you!
How to boost brain function
Stay hydrated, stay rested yet active and challenge your brain daily.
What is the best exercise to train your brain?
Any methods that promote neuroplasticity are great for brain training.