Practicing yoga is not only good for your health but also boosts your memory and diminishes risks of Alzheimer’s. Yoga, coupled with meditation, has been proven to help with mental health and reduce deterioration with the increase of age, new study claims.
A research team has found that a course of Kirtan Kriya meditation and Kundalini yoga for three months can reduce the emotional and cognitive issues, which are usually the warning signs of mental diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The study mentioned the popularity of Kirtan Kriya, which involves a combination of hand gestures, visualization of light and chanting, has been practiced in India for more than hundred years to fight mental degenerative factors.
Meditation and yoga have proven to be more effective than memory exercises, which earlier used to be considered best to cure mild cognitive degeneration.
The senior most author of the study Helen Lavretsky, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, US, says yoga and meditation were more useful than mental exercises because apart from memory enhancement, it also had a positive effect on mood, coping abilities and anxiety.
An experiment was conducted with 25 participants all over the age of 55, where their brain activity and behavioral patterns were analyzed.
For one week, eleven participants were put through memory improvement training where they spent about 20 minutes per day performing memory exercises both visual and verbal combined with other science-based memory enhancing activities.
The rest of the participants practiced Kundalini yoga sessions for an hour and Kirtan Kriya meditation for 20 minutes each day.
After a period of twelve weeks, the researchers observed an improvement in the verbal and memory skills in both the groups by analyzing their ability to recall names and words. But the group, which performed meditation and yoga, experienced much better improvement in spatial-visual memory skills; and these participants were able to recall locations and directions.
The main author of the study, Harris Eyre, a doctoral candidate at the University of Adelaide in Australia, acknowledged the importance of yoga in human health and said that this experiment is a proof of the benefits of yoga on your body. Eyre further emphasized the need of doctor’s recommendation of yoga therapy to their aged patients to minimize risks of mental deterioration.
The findings of the research appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.