Yoga typically involves physical postures, breath control, and meditation. However, meditation can be hard, especially when offered in the traditional manner, which consists of remaining still and seated for a long period of time. OMMMMMMMM.
There is good new for those of us who find the traditional practice of meditation difficult. Researchers discovered that moving meditations are just as beneficial. Subramanya and Telles (2009) conducted research on a yoga practice that involved cycles of yoga postures and supine rest (lying with face up), which is referred to as cyclic mediation. This was compared to a simple meditation in corpse pose or shavasana. The cyclic meditation or moving meditation subjects demonstrated improved memory scores following the yoga practice and a decrease in state anxiety.
Similarly, researchers examined the relationship between yoga, relative to aerobic exercise and found that performance after yoga boosted accuracy and reduced reaction times on inhibition and working memory tests more so than aerobic exercise (Gothe, Pontifex, Hillman, & McAuley, 2013). It is hypothesized that this increase in cognition is due to yoga’s practice of combining specific postures with regulated breathing and meditation. The combination of these techniques initiates active attention or mindfulness, which is linked to increased cognition.
This is big news for children with ADHD and learning disabilities who struggle with working memory. Before starting homework or taking a test hit the yoga mat and jumpstart the brain. Actually, a mat isn’t even needed. A child can do simple seated poses while staying at their desk. Voila! Your child is set for success.
Subramanya P, Telles S. (2009). A review of the scientific studies on cyclic meditation. Int J Yoga, 2, 46-8
Gothe, N., Pontifex, M., Hillman, C., & McAuley, E. (2013). Acute effects of yoga on executive function. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 10, 488-495