Yoga Improves Executive Function

118 older adults defined as 'sedentary' were randomised to an 8-week yoga intervention or a stretching control group. At baseline and following 8 weeks, all participants completed measures of executive function, self-reported stress and anxiety and provided saliva samples before and after cognitive testing to assess cortisol.

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Oct 31, 2016
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27794449

Welcome to the beginning of the week everyone. We hope you had a lovely weekend and managed to rest your executive functions a bit! The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. We are happy to share this new study with you today, the purpose of which was to determine whether yoga practice moderated the stress response resulting in improved executive function.

118 older adults defined as 'sedentary' were randomised to an 8-week yoga intervention or a stretching control group. At baseline and following 8 weeks, all participants completed measures of executive function, self-reported stress and anxiety and provided saliva samples before and after cognitive testing to assess cortisol. Very interestingly, the yoga participants showed improved accuracy on executive function measures and an attenuated cortisol response compared to their stretching counterparts who showed increased cortisol levels and poor cognitive performance at follow up.

In this study, just eight weeks of regular yoga practice resulted in improved working memory performance. This was mediated by an attenuated response to stress as measured by self-report stress and objective salivary cortisol measurements. This is just a bit wonderful, isn't it? ! :)

Go to the profile of Heather Mason

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS

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