Cognitive Function and Yoga

Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS

As if you’ve ever needed any more reason to break out your doTERRA Yoga Collection and practice your asanas and pranayama, a recently published study has shown that regular yoga sessions may be an effective means to improve cognitive function.

Using a within-subjects experimental design, researchers examined the acute effects of yoga and meditation on function and mood.1 Study participants completed, in random order, 25 minutes of yoga, 25 minutes of mediation, and 25 minutes of reading. Following all three sessions, executive function (the set of skills involving mental control and self-regulation) was assessed using the Stroop task test, and metrics of mood change were evaluated through the completion of a Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. This is probably not surprising to those yoga advocates out there, but acute effects of the yoga sessions included significant improvements in executive functioning (determined by Stroop performance) and increases in POMS scores.

While the meditation did increase both Stroop and POMS scores, the effect was less pronounced. And there were no statistically significant differences following the reading sessions. Participants also noted that the yoga and meditation sessions had an energizing effect, although that effect was far more prominent following yoga. Prior theories about the cognitive-, mood-, and energy-enhancing benefits of yoga have run the gamut, from possibly increasing blood flow to the brain to positive hormonal response (endorphins), but in all honesty, we simply don’t know. What contemporary science continues to confirm, however, is that yoga works both acutely and long-term to improve health and well-being in a number of ways, and far better than other common activities.2-4

Whether you prefer the grounding aroma of doTERRA Anchor, the centering scent of doTERRA Align, or the uplifting effects of doTERRA Arise, put a few drops of your favorite Yoga Collection oil in your diffuser and experience the multitude of benefits that yoga practice imparts.


doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.

There are no customer reviews yet.

Average Rating Rate / Comment

How would you rate this post?

dōTERRA welcomes your thoughtful comments!

Comments are limited to 200 characters, reviewed for approval, and posted once approved.

200 characters remaining

Select Your Continent

Select Your Region

Select Your Location

Select Your Language