Yoga on the mind

Last month, I stopped by the annual yoga research meeting outside Boston. If you’re a skeptic who claims “no real research” exists for natural therapies like yoga, you should have seen the hundreds of researchers from all over the country gathered on the Charles River.

Clearly, yoga has many health benefits. The rock-solid research presented last month certainly confirms that.

One study in particular caught my eye. My colleague Julie Staples and her co-workers at Southwest Yoga Care and the University of New Mexico conducted the study.

Their research has to do with the growing problem of memory and cognitive function in older adults. I often report on the epidemic of Alzheimer’s Dementia. Mainstream medicine offers very little to these victims. And most medical practitioners ignore the potential benefits of nutritional and natural approaches. (To learn more about these approaches, see my  special report called “The Insider’s Answer for Dodging Dementia” Subscribers to my newsletter get this report for free.)

Previous studies showed that regular yoga sessions can improve memory and cognition in young to middle-aged adults. But do these benefits hold true for older adults as well?

That’s what Julie Staples and her team set out to discover.

Their study examined how yoga affects older adults, 65 to 85 years. They looked at three major conditions that impact memory and cognition–poor sleep, pain, and stress.

For three months, the participants practiced yoga daily at home. The “holistic” therapy program consisted of postures, breathing exercises, chants, gestures, conscious intention, relaxation, and diet.

Following the study, participants reported significant improvements in sleep quality, pain levels, and energy levels. When asked if they enjoyed participating in the program, 92 percent gave it the two highest ratings. And 100 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

Clearly, the program proved successful among an older population over three months. I would like to see whether continuing the program over six months would improve memory and cognition as well.

So this summer, give yoga a try. You may find it improves your sleep, pain, and energy. It may even improve your memory. At the very least, you will have better memories of this summer. As always, be sure to let me know how it goes.