Anyone who has ever practiced yoga will be well aware of the physical and mental benefits that regular practice brings to their lives. The physical benefits are many – increased flexibility, mobility, improved posture, increased muscle and bone strength – not to mention the preventative benefits that you gain from protecting your spine and joints. It’s amazing that we all aren’t doing it every day!
But did you know that yoga also has great benefits for your brain? I’ve been reading “Yoga: Good for the Body and the Brain” a fantastic, eye-opening blog post by Dr Joe Dispenza. Dr Dispenza is a researcher, chiropractor, lecturer and author who has a passion for exploring how we can heal illness and enjoy a more fulfilled life through the fields of neuroscience and quantum physics.
On the blog, Dr Dispenza outlines research by Chantal Villemure and Catherine Bushnell of the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, that suggests that Yoga actually helps grow parts of your brain.
Using MRI scans on people who regularly practice yoga compared to control subjects who don’t, the researchers found that on average, yogis who dedicated about 70% of their practice to physical postures, 20% to meditation and 10% to breathwork showed an increase in brain cells in certain areas of the brain.
“If the volume of brain matter increases, the research about the benefits of yoga suggests that not only is the brain making new synaptic connections but also new neurons are actually growing and thus being added to our grey matter – a concept called neurogenesis, once thought impossible by neuroscientists.” ~ Dr Joe Dispenza
As a hypnotherapist, I find these findings really exciting; I’ve talked before of the benefits to our mental health of meditation and mindfulness, kindfullness and regular practice of yoga helps with this. So it’s wonderful to find that it can actually improve our brains as well as our physical body.
So I’m off to unroll my yoga mat and salute to the sun!
*Results may vary from client to client*