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Boost Your Brainpower with Hatha Yoga

If you feel mentally drained after a long day of work, give your noggin some TLC with 20 minutes of hatha yoga. Researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that a 20-minute session of hatha yoga significantly improved focus, memory, and the ability to learn new information.

The study, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, had a group of 30 female undergraduate students perform a 20-minute progression of yoga moves, including seated, standing, and meditative poses. The control group completed an aerobic session, which involved walking or jogging on a treadmill for 20 minutes. The results? “Following yoga practice, subjects were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly and more accurately, and also learn information more effectively than after an aerobic exercise session,” says Neha Gothe, lead researcher of the study.

Use these findings to conquer your own mental fatigue. Yoga instructor Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga in New York City, shares a 20-minute sequence to energize your entire body, while calming and focusing your mind. “Do each pose for five long, deep breaths,” she says.