The ancient practice was found to be more effective at boosting brain power than conventional aerobic exercise.
Researchers in America discovered that a single session of Hatha yoga significantly improved a person’s speed and accuracy when tested on their working memory and concentration.
Lead author of the study, Neha Gothe, professor of kinesiology (human movement), health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, explained: ‘Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures but also regulated breathing and meditation.
‘The practice involves an active attentional or mindfulness component but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored.’
During the experimental yoga sessions participants were asked to assume postures stood up, sat down and laid down, while keeping their breathing steady.
The exercises included isometric contractions of different muscles in the body, where the muscles are tensed and relaxed without moving any limbs.
The exercises were followed by a mediation session, when participants focussed on posture and deep breathing.