You’ve seen them: the yoga pants, the moms who carry yoga mats like purses, the youthful girls who swear by hot yoga, and the people that say ‘Namaste’ because it’s “cool.” These are the people who just hopped on the yoga bandwagon and there are those who are serious about the unique exercise and swear by their morning yoga session because it clears their head. Whatever the reason for their application of the workout, they may be on to something. A recent study found yoga and meditation on a weekly basis can aid in fighting age-related mental decline.

1. Mentally Alert

Both yoga and meditation combined with physical activity can promote a strong memory and fight off conditions like dementia and bipolar depression.

Lower Stress Levels

Yoga reduces your cortisol levels by allowing you to clear your mind and have a singular simplistic focus. It works because of the focus on mindfulness and allowing you to escape the realities of life for a period of time. According to the aforementioned study, it also helps reduce inflammation within the body. Inflammation is known as the root cause of many health problems—including depression.

Sharper Wit

Yoga can increase your concentration and clear your mind, so the next time you have a test or something you need to memorize, make some time to meditate and do some yoga. You won’t need an energy drink or that second cup of coffee!

Happier

Yoga requires you to live in the present and focus on what’s happening at the present moment. Research shows that living in the present boosts one’s mood. So if you can hone in for just a few moments a day on the present instead of thinking about the past and future, you can have a better day!

Healthier Alternative

Many people spend thousands of dollars on drinking, smoking, and partying as an escape from their problems. You can actually face your problems for free at home, learning to connect with your mind on a spiritual level. On a health note, the facet of Yoga that focuses on breathing has helped people with their asthma and anxiety. Other people have reported that yoga has helped with chronic low back pain and an 80% drop in pain medication.

Some interesting side notes about yoga you never knew:

  • June 21 has been declared International Yoga Day, so get ready to stretch it out!
  • Yoga has been around for thousands of years in India—5,000 to be exact. People have been doing it as a part of their daily lives for exercise, to cleanse their minds, to align their chakras (pronounced chuck-rahs), to meditate and to achieve a higher level of consciousness and a stronger connection with God.
  • The Bhagavad Gita outlines three specific types of yoga: Karma (yoga of action), Jnana (yoga of knowledge), and Bhakti (yoga of devotion). Yoga is a spiritual or religious experience depending on your reason to practice it.
  • The word itself derives from Sanskrit and it means “to add, unite, or combine.”
  • American hot yoga is vastly different than the form of hot yoga in India—it’s more of a production here.