Insight Neurosurgery – When we think about yoga, flexibility, emotional balance, and holistic wellness are probably some of the first things that come to mind. But did you know that yoga is particularly beneficial for brain health? From its origins tracing back to ancient India to modern neuroscience, the mental and neurological benefits of yoga are known to enhance everything from focus and mood to cognitive function and nervous system regulation. Whether you have been diagnosed with a brain injury, are managing depression and anxiety, or are simply looking for ways to improve your brain health, you should consider adding yoga to your wellness routine. Here are just a few of the surprising brain perks you can expect from yoga.

Decreased Anxiety and Stress

Yoga is widely recognized for its benefits in reducing anxiety and stress. But the results mean much more than simply feeling calmer – it also means enhanced brain function and connectivity. People who regularly participate in yoga have shown improvements in cognitive function, such as attention, memory, and the ability to process information, according to research. This is because yoga improves connectivity between the various regions of the brain and also helps balance neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which are essential for anxiety and mood regulation.

Improved Cognitive Function

Those who practice yoga regularly can also expect improvements in cognitive function, including attention and memory. This is because the physical movements and deep breathing exercises in yoga enhance blood circulation and oxygen supplied to the brain. When brain cells receive adequate nutrition from oxygen, the brain can perform at its best, limiting cognitive decline. Yoga also has anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, which can protect the brain cells from damage associated with cognitive decline.

Enhanced Neuroplasticity

Our brains are constantly changing and getting stronger through a process called neuroplasticity. Throughout life, new neural connections are formed as the brain reorganizes itself, helping us learn, remember new things, and even recover from injuries. Because yoga involves physical movement and mindfulness, it is known to foster structural changes in the brain, as well as an increase in gray matter density essential to learning and memory.

Greater Concentration & Focus

One of the primary reasons people choose to get involved with yoga is the combination of mindfulness, stress reduction, and emotional regulation that is experienced through regular practice. Together, these mechanisms contribute to greater concentration and focus. Whether it’s training the brain to focus on a single task and improving mental clarity or helping to regulate emotions, the discipline required for yoga can lead to better concentration and focus in daily life.

Nervous System Regulation

The physical and mental aspects of yoga are also directly linked to the nervous system. This is primarily accomplished through controlled breathing and physical movements that improve blood flow and ease muscle tension throughout the body. Yoga is also known to reduce cortisol levels, which is our primary stress hormone, helping to regulate the nervous system and make it more resilient.

Better Sleep Quality

People who practice yoga regularly may also notice meaningful improvement in their quality of sleep. The combination of physical exercise, breathing techniques, and mindfulness promote relaxation, as well as balanced sleep-wake cycles. Not only does this result in waking up feeling more refreshed and rejuvenated, but it also helps us experience deeper, quality sleep and the ability to fall asleep faster without the intrusive thoughts that keep us awake.

Now that you know that yoga isn’t just great for your body but also your brain, why not incorporate it into your daily routine? Whether you have experience with yoga or are a beginner, approach it with an open mind and patience – and be sure to set realistic goals. Even a few minutes each day can lead to less stress, emotional well-being, and a healthy brain. To learn more about brain health and our services at Insight, contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Q: Do I need to be flexible to do yoga?

A: No! One of the many advantages of yoga is it is accessible to people of all fitness levels and body types. With consistency, you will gradually build strength, flexibility, and confidence.

Q: Do I need to invest in equipment for yoga?

A: Other than a good yoga mat that provides cushioning and traction, no equipment is required to practice yoga.

Q: Do I need to attend classes for yoga?

A: Although classes can be helpful, especially if you are a beginner, they are not required to practice yoga. However, there are many great resources available online that can help you practice yoga at your own pace in the comfort of your own home. Just remember to start slow and listen to your body!