Yoga Boosts Memory

by Matilda Charles


Yoga is thought of as an umbrella term for various forms of the

discipline, but some kinds of yoga are said to be better for seniors than



A study done by the University of Illinois focused on Hatha yoga, which

uses specific poses with flowing movements, meditation and breathing.

Researchers divided seniors ranging from 55 to 79 years of age into two

groups. One group did the specific Hatha yoga steps, and the other did

toning and stretching.


The results: Those who took the yoga classes three times a week for eight

weeks had better information recall (faster and more accurate), as well as

mental flexibility. They experienced “significant improvements in working

memory capacity.”


What’s key: The half of the participants who did only stretching and

toning instead of yoga didn’t have the same cognitive performance results.

There are, however, dozens of other forms of yoga for seniors to explore,

and classes are popping up everywhere, as well as for tai chi and qigong.

After taking yoga, tai chi and qigong classes, here is my assessment:

Yoga (any kind) involves painful poses, some on the floor. Tai chi is

done standing up, but poses are complicated. Qigong has gentle, flowing

movements done standing up. All of them offer benefits for strength,

flexibility, balance, stress reduction — and memory, in my estimation.

Your best bet is to find a yoga, tai chi or qigong class specifically

for seniors, perhaps one that’s taught by your local senior center or

hospital. Ask questions in advance.


If you have a computer, go online to search yoga, tai chi and qigong

individually. Check videos and watch the poses. Think about which type is

right for you. You’ll get a benefit from all of them.


Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader

questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible.


Send email to

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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