We often get asked if yoga is good for the aging brain. While it is still a relatively new field of study, early research appears to suggest that it can have positive effects on the brain.

Here are 4 ways that yoga benefits the brain:

  1. Yoga may improve mood. A small pilot study found that people who regularly practice yoga have an increase in GABA levels in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter involved in mood, and people with low GABA levels may experience anxiety and depression.
  2. Yoga may maintain fluid intelligence and protect the brain in aging. A study of yoga and meditation practitioners found that they exhibited greater fluid intelligence and brain resilience in aging as compared to their matched controls.
  3. Yoga may help with PTSD and other kinds of stress. A study in women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that while both the yoga group and a control group improved, the yoga participants maintained the benefits of the treatment while the control group relapsed into PTSD symptoms soon after treatment.
  4. Yoga may improve executive brain functioning in older adults. A study in older adults found that those who practiced Hatha yoga for 8 weeks improved in measures of executive function.

Do you practice yoga? Are you thinking about starting?