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Texas State undergrad research finds yoga can improve cognition

Devon Brunner
Devon Brunner

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
August 11, 2017

New research conducted by a Texas State University undergraduate shows that a brief, six-session yoga program can result in meaningful improvement in cognitive function.

Devon Brunner, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in psychology in May, published her peer-reviewed paper "A yoga program for cognitive enhancement" in the August 4 edition of the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE) journal. Results of the study reveal that yoga significantly improves working memory, essential to higher-order cognitive and behavioral functions.

Brunner, who is also a yoga instructor, began planning her independent study in the Spring of 2015 and executed her study in the Fall of 2015. Brunner developed a six-session alignment-focused Hatha yoga program including asanas (poses) connected with pranayama (breathing techniques) and a 10-minute guided mindfulness meditation to investigate whether or not yoga could enhance working memory and attentive mindfulness.

The research may provide an innovative solution to elderly individuals or individuals with cognitive deficits seeking to take part in the growing trend of cognitive enhancement. Yoga, which has been linked to other beneficial effects, may be an old solution to a new need.

The work was supported by an internal grant from Texas State and completed with Amitai Abramovitch, an assistant professor and clinical neuropsychologist, and Joseph Etherton, a professor and clinical psychologist, both from the Department of Psychology.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,849 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 180,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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