26 Jun Yoga & the brain
Yoga and the neuroscience connection…..I am currently learning more about this and the benefits yoga has not only on the body, but the effects on the brain.
We often hear the research about the benefits of yoga as: Yoga improves strength, flexibility, cardiovascular & respiratory function, improved sleep, overall wellbeing, reduces stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain. This is amazing in itself, but also as we emerge into a new paradigm of being able to slow down in our practice and develop more awareness of sensations in the body, this is one way to improve our neuroplasticity. The pause in between each pose is just as important as the pose, when we talk about building nervous system resilience, physiologic balance and mental health.
Here are some ways yoga can optimise different parts of the brain (starting with the hindbrain & midbrain):
Improves balance, co-ordination, muscular strength,respiratory & cardiovascular function, promote addiction recovery, improved sleep. Poses such as balances, inversions, opposite arm/leg, cross over poses & twists, fwd bends (beneficial for digestive system) unusual/challenging new poses. Pranayama, structural breathing.
Moving slowly with awareness, listening to sound of breath, notice sensations in the body, notice what motivates you to do your practice, notice how your body feels rewarded and supported by your practice which then reminds us to keep doing our practice because it feels good. The mid brain is involved in our habitual and addictive behaviours so developing awareness (our breath, how our body feels etc) in your yoga practice may optimize this part of the brain.