Yoga has been a part of my life for 6 years. I am familiar with the poses, the breathing strategies, and the 8 limbs. Yoga has acted as a form of expression for me ever since my first hot yoga class so many years ago. As my passion developed, I felt compelled to learn more about how yoga can benefit our lives physically and psychologically. There is undeniable proof that yoga has an effect on our mental stability and well-being. One study done by the India Institute of Sciences reveals that “the present study now suggests that a yoga-based short-term intervention reduces oxidative stress in a sample that includes healthy subjects as well as those having a variety of chronic diseases” (Yadav, 2005). Since we know that yoga is proven to benefit your overall health and aid in combatting chronic diseases, it is interesting to take a step back and look at how yoga affects our brains as well as our bodies. Looking at this from an objective standpoint, there may be a call for a series of studies to be done on this subject. The untapped potential may house a wealth of information that could help people relieve mental and physical pain through the practice of yoga.
I recently attended a seminar on yoga and communication, investigating the link between our bodies and our minds as well as our ability to learn. The speaker, a spunky female professor from a small university in Texas, shared her experience with introducing yoga into the classroom. She treated this as a social experiment to measure cognitive growth in assistance with physical development. The professor invited her students to participate in 30 minutes of yoga, followed by 30 minutes of class work. At the end of the semester the pupils were required to draft a reflection essay on the way in which yoga aided their learning process. Across the board, every student strongly advocated for the implementation of yoga to help facilitate education. Students noticed that after yoga, they were more open minded and receptive to ideas and had an easier time thinking through problems. Additionally, they all felt that their writing had improved as a result of this exercise. Furthermore, when they encountered problems with schoolwork at home, they opted to go back through those techniques they learned in class and flow through some poses to focus their minds. The speaker concluded that the results of this investigation lead them to believe that there is an undeniable link between the beneficial effects of yoga and cognitive ability. The more yoga is incorporated into our lives the more cognitive growth we witness such as, “improves attention, improves concentration, memory improves, learning efficiency improves, mood improves, social skills increases, well-being increases, somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase, [and] self-acceptance increases” (Soltz, 2013).
What I find most fascinating is how stretching different areas of your body open up different parts of your mind. Similarly, certain pain that you feel in targeted areas of your body correspond to specific parts of the brain that may be in distress. So the key here is understanding that a healthy body is the first step to a healthy mind. Even more, perhaps there should be a call of more studies regarding this debate. How far could yoga go to help us mentally and emotionally. We hold so much anxiety within our bodies, surely there must be more we can be doing to relieve ourselves of that stress and emotion through physical exploration.
Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. K. (n.d.). Ethics & issues in contemporary nursing.
By Christina Stoltz on March 26, 2013 — http://www.howtolearn.com/2013/03/how-to-teach-your-child-yoga-to-improve-learning/
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