Yoga to increase your memory power
The name of the neighbour who you always greet suddenly slips your mind and the house keys are nowhere to be found. Do all these sound familiar? Do you forget the things you used to remember as the years go by?
As we get older, our cognitive abilities gradually deteriorate. This is why doctors recommend -among other things- a variety of activities (e.g. solving crossword puzzles, learning a foreign language, playing strategy games), which help keep our brain in shape for as long as possible.
According to experts, it’s about time we add yoga to the list of activities that improve our memory. Research from the University of Adelaide, Australia and the University of California, Los Angeles showed that weekly yoga and meditation classes can stimulate our brain and protect us against cognitive decline.
The study involved 25 adults, all over the age of 5
5, who had mild cognitive impairment or problems with thinking and memory. Eleven participants received 1 hour a week of memory enhancement training and spent 20 minutes a day performing memory exercises. The rest took an one-hour class once a week in yoga and practiced meditation at home for 20 minutes each day.
What were the results? The two groups saw similar improvements in their verbal memory*, but those who practiced yoga had bigger improvements in visual-spatial memory**. In addition, the second group had bigger reductions in their symptoms of depression and anxiety in comparison to the memory-training group.
“If you are trying to improve your memory, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness”, said Helen Lavretsky, the study’s senior author.
The study appears in the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease” and is the first to compare outcomes from yoga and meditation with those from memory training. However, the researchers explained that more research is needed in order to confirm the findings.
* The type of memory used when people remember names or lists of words
** The type of memory used to recall locations and navigate