A new study has found that just 20 minutes of yoga is better for the brain than vigorous exercise for the same duration.
The study by researchers at the University of Illinois involved 30 female undergraduate students, who practiced standing, supine and seated yoga postures for 20 minutes. This session also included deep breathing and assuming a meditative posture.
Following this, the students also undertook an aerobic exercise session that included walking or jogging on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Each participant maintained 60-70% of her maximum heart rate during this session.
Study results indicated that reaction times and accuracy on cognitive tasks were much better after yoga tasks than after the treadmill session. Participants were also able to focus their mental resources and process information more quickly after yoga than after the aerobic exercise.
"The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath," lead researcher Professor Neha Gothe said. "Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities."