Yoga reduces memory disorders and Alzheimer's symptoms
Yoga and meditation are said to have many positive effects, including achieving inner peace and increasing flexibility of the body. Scientists now found that these occupations can also help with memory problems in old age and even reduce the emotional and cognitive problems of advanced Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers at the University of California (UCLA) have now discovered in a study that a three-month yoga class is enough to reduce the negative impact and cognitive problems of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. In addition, yoga and meditation help older participants with memory difficulties. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Alzheimer's Disease".The Indian doctrine Yoga is also becoming more popular in Europe. Yoga is one of the six classical schools (Darshanas) of Indian philosophy. Some meditative forms of yoga focus on mental concentration, others more on physical exercises. (Image: Robert Kneschke / fotolia.com)
Yoga helps to cope better with many situations and improves the memory
Short yoga and meditation classes have better effects than light cognitive exercises that have been used to reduce the effects of dementia, explain the physicians. Pure memory training is similar to yoga or meditation in improving our memory. However, yoga has more benefits than pure memory training, because it also helps to cope with moods and fears, says Dr. Helen Lawretzky from the University of California.
Study examines the effects of twelve weeks of yoga with meditation
During the study, the physicians examined 25 volunteers. All of the subjects were already over 55 years old and previously reported memory problems, explain the American scientists. Brain scans and memory tests were then performed on participants at the beginning and at the end of each examination. Eleven of the participants underwent one hour of memory training every week during the examination. In addition, they performed a daily exercise for the memory, which lasted about 20 minutes, the researchers say. The other fourteen volunteers participated once a week in a so-called Kundalini Yoga class and conducted a daily meditation called Kirtan Kriya. This meditation went on for a period of 20 minutes. The said meditation technique has been used for centuries in India and includes visualization, singing and hand movements. All participants completed their sessions after twelve weeks.
Additional benefits of yoga and meditation
At the end of the study, the researchers found that both verbal memory skills had improved and the participants' memories of lists of words and names. The second group, who practiced yoga and meditation, showed higher rates of improvement when it comes to visual-spatial capabilities of memory, the authors explain. Those affected had a much better orientation and remembered places and areas more clearly. But that was not all: yoga and meditation also helped subjects to better manage stress and manage it more easily, say the experts. This fact could help to overcome the emotional difficulties that arise with cognitive problems. In addition, this group also reduced the likelihood of anxiety and depression, add the physicians. Historically, yoga is thought to improve the quality of life in old age, but this is the clear scientific demonstration of this achievement, the authors explain. The new study was the first study to compare the effects of memory training exercises with the benefits of meditation and yoga. However, the investigation failed to establish the exact cause-effect, Dr. Lavretsky. Generally, one could say that many different activities, both physical, mental and social, help us to keep our brains fit, the physician adds. Human tastes are different, for example, some people like crossword puzzles to keep themselves mentally fit. Yoga and meditation simply offer other ways to train one's memory and counter forgetfulness, Dr. Lavretsky. However, the study has only tested one specific form of meditation, so it is not known if other forms of meditation would show the same results. (As)