Yoga: More Than Just A White Girl Trend

Yoga has recently been lumped in with other “white girl trends.” You know, the same girls who eat gluten free, go out for sushi multiple times a week, and do blueprint cleanses are also the ones who go to yoga. It’s certainly a trendy fitness class, but is it more than that?

According to a new study, it is much more than that. Researchers have found that people had increased brain functions after taking yoga. The human brain excelled both speed-wise and accuracy-wise on brain functioning tests after just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga, compared with the benefits of aerobic exercise.

"It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout," study researcher Neha Gothe, a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement. Gothe conducted the study while a graduate student at the university.

"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. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities," she added.

The study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, included 30 young female college students who underwent 20 minutes of yoga followed by meditation and deep breathing, as well as 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging on a treadmill).

Researchers had the participants do cognitive testing after both the yoga and the aerobic exercise sessions, and they found that the scores were better on the tests after they practiced yoga than participating in aerobic exercise.

"Enhanced self-awareness that comes with meditational exercises is just one of the possible mechanisms," Gothe said in the statement. "Besides, meditation and breathing exercises are known to reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn can improve scores on some cognitive tests."

Who’s having the last laugh now? White girls.

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