October 25, 2018

Yoga And Your Brain – How The Two Work Together

You may practice yoga every week, but do you know the role of your brain in this practice?

The proprioception system is a sensory system that tells our brain where our body is in 3-dimentional space. Our brain receives important information from our eyes, ears, and skin and sends out instructions to keep your body flowing gracefully during yoga class.

Yoga and Your Brain

Your eyes send visual information to your brain.

Have you ever tried practicing yoga with your eyes closed? It’s hard. Why is that? Our eyes send information to our brain about where our body is located in space. Additionally, the brain combines information from our eyes . This is called the vestibulo-ocular reflex and it helps to move our eyes to compensate for movement of the body. For example, when you practice yoga, you often look at the teacher at the front of the room, while you continue to move your body. This ability of the eyes to track in one place while you move is the vestibulo-ocular reflex hard at work.

Yoga and Your Brain

Receptors in your skin send information about your body’s position to your brain.

When you place all ten fingers and toes on your yoga mat for downward dog, tiny sensors in your fingers and toes are sending information to your brain.  The sensors allow you to feel the outside world; they tell your brain if your skin is stretching, if there is pressure or movement, and if there is pain or heat. The brain processes all of this information and decides if you need to adjust your body to feel more comfortable in your downward dog.

Yoga and Your Brain

Your inner ear sends information about your head’s rotation to your brain.

The inner ear transmits information about your head movement. Three semicircular canals, located deep in your ear, tell the brain if your head is tilting, nodding or turning right or left. This information is useful to the brain to know how your head is moving when you roll up to a standing position from forward fold.


Want to learn more about the brain while practicing yoga? Check out the Instructional Program, NeuroFlow Yoga. Each week covers a new topic on the brain-body connection, and integrates the information into the day’s yoga flow. Learn how neuroscience-informed yoga and meditation techniques can help you live a happy and fulfilled life.