You’ve probably heard of all the ways yoga can help and change your body. It helps builds muscle tone, can help lower blood pressure, and can even make you sleep better among other things.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s a bonus.
Are you ready for it?
Yoga can also change your brain.
Don’t freak out, they’re all in positive ways, ways you probably never imagined.
Check out these five mind-blowing ways yoga can change your brain.
- Your brain gets a growth spurt in a big way. Who doesn’t want to have the bragging rights for having a bigger brain? If you do, strike a few yoga poses. Researchers in Maryland discovered that people who did yoga saw growth in various parts of their brain. Scientifically speaking, they had larger brain volume in the somatosensory cortex, superior parietal cortex, and visual cortex. In short, people who did yoga ended up with bigger brains.
- You won’t forget what you had for dinner last night. How many times has someone asked you what you had for dinner last night and you reply with a blank stare? If you want to avoid this, try yoga. A team of researchers in Massachusetts studied people who did yoga over an eight-week time period. They found that the numerous changes are due to the shifts in the gray matter density in your brain. What does this mean? The part of the brain that’s in charge of learning and memory as well as self-awareness and compassion get bigger.
- No more wishy-washy decision making. Whether you have trouble making major life decisions or can’t decide if you want cream in your coffee, doing yoga can help you become firmer in your decision making. Researchers say it has to do with the cortical folding that goes on in the brain. Doing yoga and meditation increases that movement, so the more folding of your cortical that's happening, the easier it'll be to make decisions.
- You’ll feel super relaxed like you’re on vacation 24/7. You may not be able to go on vacation as much as you'd like but you can sneak in yoga poses for free at home to get some of the same effects. Yoga unleashes GABA which technically stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, just in case you’re ever playing trivia. Think of GABA as that chemical that allows you to chill out. Studies show doing yoga can boost your GABA levels, leaving you with a natural high. Thanks to yoga, you can let your GABA out and chill out without needing total rest and relaxation.
- You’ll be able to throw your stress ball away. Cortisol and stress are BFFs. So when your body has high levels of cortisol you’re probably ready to explode, but if you can manage to lower your levels of cortisol you can relax and lower anxiety naturally. Studies have shown that after practicing yoga, people were able to decrease their cortisol and stress levels in just one week.
A bigger brain, a relaxed attitude and the ability to make better decisions...what are you waiting for? There aren't many other activities that can give you all of these benefits and more. There’s no reason why yoga shouldn’t become your new favorite form of exercise!