The Brain on Yoga

The brain is a muscle like any other. Weighing in at 3 pounds, the brain is our communication vessel to the world around us.  To live a healthy lifestyle, there are suggestions for taking care of the body to keep muscles young, flexible and strong for longevity. Arguably, the brain is the most important muscle needing regular exercise and conditioning. Yoga has been shown to increase brain function in multiple areas and provide long term mental health effects. Dementia and alzheimer’s can be prevented through regular practice of yoga and meditation.

For those recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, yoga is a underestimated treatment modality. Creating calm and connectivity to externalized oneness are fantastic spiritual benefits to yoga. Addiction lives inside the brain. Rewiring core systems like the reward center and the midbrain, addiction creates a neurological imbalance. Yoga, both physically and philosophically, is about balance.

Areas of the Brain enhanced by Yoga

  • Pre-Frontal Cortex
  • Basal Ganglia: center for selecting the next action to take; for example, putting one foot down, before raising the next while walking
  • Oxytocin: a hormone that is released through physical touch like kissing or embracing. Yoga is like giving yourself a hug and a kiss, in your brain.
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System: slowing the heart rate happens from this area as well as managing the production of gland secretion.
  • Stress: stress can come from multiple areas of the brain, but is shown to be reduced with regular practice of yoga.
  • Gray Matter: gray matter is another term for brain cells. Research has found that an increase in hours dedicated to yoga results in an increase in actual brain cells.
  • Somatosensory Cortex: specifically, increased growth of gray matter happens in this area of the brain which acts as a data-containing navigation system of the body
  • Superior Parietal Cortex: Yoga has been shown to enhance focus and concentration because of growth in this area of the brain.
  • Visual Cortex: the ability to visualize and conceptualize are important factors in creativity and critical thinking. Yoga can be accompanied by visualization techniques which encourage growth in this area.

Refuge Recovery knows the healing power of yoga is transformational in the process of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Incorporating minduflness based practices into an evidence based program makes Refuge Recovery unique in their approach to treatment. Our hope is to inspire our clients to live lives full of possibility, by discovering themselves. Call us today for more information on our treatment programs (323) 207-0276

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