Wellness cops a lot of flack, but yoga and meditation are two practices that hold up under scientific scrutiny. A multitude of studies have proven that breathing deeply, slowing the mind, and moving the body have all kinds of physiological benefits, and this week fresh research has revealed it could even help you become more successful.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo asked 31 participants to perform a 25 minute Hatha yoga sequence, 25 minutes of meditation and 25 minutes of quiet reading in a randomized order. Afterwards they completed executive function tasks to test things like memory, self-control, attention span, and mental flexibility.
They discovered that yoga and meditation boosted cognitive ability—including focus and goal-orientated behavior—significantly more than the reading exercise.
Professor Peter Hall, from the University’s School of Public Health & Health Systems, has a theory as to why that might be. “Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing and posing, and also reduce processing of nonessential information,” he told Medical Xpress. “These two functions might have some positive carryover effect in the near-term following the session, such that people are able to focus more easily on what they choose to attend to in everyday life.”
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