Yoga and its positive effects on brainwave activity and mentality
Yoga has been proven to release stress and increase focus, but it can also stimulate your brainwaves! Before we breakdown the effects yoga has on brainwaves, it is important to note which waves we’re referring to. Brain waves are the electrical impulses in your brain, they are naturally occurring during both an active and resting state. Yoga has influenced many types of brainwaves, such as:
Alpha waves are neural oscillations running at the frequency of 8—13 Hz, which are found typically within the cortex, occipital lobe, and thalamic regions. They occur during moderate levels of brain activity.
Beta waves, with a frequency of 12—38 Hz, occur during a heightened state of awareness. They have been shown to affect mood and emotions.
Also known as theta rhythm, theta waves (4—7 Hz) occur once a repetitive task becomes autonomous, requiring minimal attention. These waves play a role in functioning short-term memory and reducing anxiety.
Gamma waves (40—100 Hz) are brain oscillations involved in conscious attention.
These brain waves are recorded using an electroencephalography (EEG) and have been tested on yoga patients. A report done in 2015, the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, studied the effects of yoga on brain wave activity, followed by the effects of yoga on structural and activation changes in the brain.
The study conducted used a variety of different yoga methods, one being Kriya-based yoga practice. Kriya yoga aims to rapidly accelerate spiritual development, but it has also been shown to elicit theta wave responses. The report found that fast-paced breathing, meditation, and contemplation increased alpha waves and theta waves by 40 percent. The subjects tested reported having better control of their emotional state, and overall, feeling deeply relaxed.
Each brand of yoga involves a component of mindfulness and breathing, but the body system being used will vary. This variation between yoga branches may elicit different effects on the mind and body. The three main branches of yoga are asana-based yoga, meditation-based yoga, and breathing-based yoga. When practising any of these types of yoga, you can expect a decrease in stress and improvements on your cardiorespiratory health. The reduced levels of cortisol in the system also aid in improving immunity levels and ability to cope with the challenges of day-to-day life.
Haven Yoga offers a wide variety of yoga practices, classes, and levels. We also offer meditation and private sessions. Hire a yoga teacher today, join a public class, or even book your own private retreat! With Haven Yoga, you can expect to unlock the full potential of your brainwaves!