Yoga and the Brain

Yoga and Brain Health with Diane Renzulli

Sunday, 11/23/14 from 4:00pm – 6:00pmdiane-web_400x400

This workshop, open to yoga teachers and students of all levels, will tell the story of the 1998 discovery of neuroplasticity in the human brain, which overturned decades of thinking that an old brain can’t make new neurons. Participants will hear about the latest research on how stress, sleep and mindfulness can impact the brain and how yoga can help.

To register, see the Tranquil Space web scheduler here.

Read on for more information about the workshop from Diane.

Can Yoga Change Your Brain?  

By Diane Renzulli

True or False? Age-related cognitive decline is inevitable.

Here’s the bad news: based on what I’m learning in my gerontology class, the answer is true. But it’s complicated, so stay with me for the good news.

Some skills, like vocabulary, aren’t affected by age. Others, like processing speed, problem solving, memory, and the ability to pay attention, tend to decline gradually over time.

Yet there are some important caveats. First, while these declines have shown up in large studies, gerontologists say that by definition, normal age-related cognitive decline should not get in the way of a person’s ability to function. Second, not everyone declines at the same rate.

And on top of that, we’re witnessing a sea change in the way scientists look at the brain. Twenty years ago, the dominant belief was that an older person’s brain couldn’t change. But with the advent of technology, scientists documented the growth of new neurons in the adult human brain in the 1990s. This laid the foundation for a dramatic shift in the way we think about the brain as it gets older.

Yes, some cognitive decline is inevitable. But studies are showing that what we choose to do with our time – and our minds – can change both the number of neurons in our brains and how they connect with each other in ways that govern things like cognitive performance, emotional regulation and even how we deal with things like stress and pain.

If you’re interested in learning more about how brain-imaging research is helping scientists understand the mind-body benefits of ancient contemplative traditions and the implications for your aging brain, join me for my workshop at Tranquil Space on November 23rd. We’ll have a short, mellow practice and I’ll share the story of the 1998 discovery of neuroplasticity in the adult human brain. Then I’ll share some of the latest research on how stress, sleep and mindfulness can change the brain and how yoga can help.

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