A 12 week program of weekly yoga and meditation strengthened thinking skills, mood and visuospatial memory. The UCLA research recruited 29 middle aged and older adults with mild cognitive impairment. They divided the volunteers into two groups. One began a computerised brain training program that involved an hour of class time and a series of exercises designed to strengthen memory at home for 15 minutes a day. The other group learnt kundalini yoga for an hour a week, and were also taught Kirtan Kriya meditation and asked to do this at home for 15 minutes a day. At the end of the 12 weeks both groups performed better on most thinking tests, but the group who practiced yoga and meditation also performed better on tests for visuospatial memory, the type of memory that is important for balance, depth perception and the ability to recognise objects and find your way around. Interestingly, the brain scans of the yoga/meditation group showed more communication between parts of the brain that control attention. (1)
(1) 2016;52(2):673-84. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150653. Changes in Neural Connectivity and Memory Following a Yoga Intervention for Older Adults: A Pilot Study. EyreHA, Acevedo B, Yang H, Siddarth P, Van Dyk K, Ercoli L, Leaver AM, Cyr NS, Narr K, Baune BT, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H.