Healthwise: Does Mozart Trump Yoga?

Mozart vs Yoga

Both practicing yoga and listening to Mozart create amazing health benefits. But does Mozart do more?

More than Baby-Proofing

A popular trend during the turn of this century was plopping your infant in front of a DVD with classical background music. Although it’s since been since proven the actual video didn’t make babies smarter, the music makes a difference. Listening to Mozart helps alleviate stress and regulate mood in babies (and adults.) Practicing yoga can deliver similar results. It turns out, both are great for your health, whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between.

Blood Pressure Benefit

A new study out of Germany reveals Mozart-listening can lower blood pressure as much as exercising. Researchers monitored the blood pressure of 60 participants before and after listening to music. The listeners were treated to Mozart, Strauss, and the group ABBA. Mozart’s music lowered both systolic and diastolic rates, as well as decreased resting heart rate.

Several studies on the benefit of Mozart’s music agree that it’s the repetitive sound that helps. There’s generally a consistent rhythm, no rousing sequences, and always no lyrics.

In practicing yoga, many of the same elements exist. There’s often repetition in positions. It also alters the physiological system of the body, which ultimately affects your heart rate—in a healthy direction.

Cognitive Benefits 

Listening to Mozart’s music can cause changes in brain waves. One study notes its links to improved memory and problem solving. The research out of Rome showed that the cognitive effects were most pronounced in young adults and the elderly. Students have also reported better test scores when studying and test taking while listening to classical music.

Although yoga can’t be proven to directly affect cognition, it has a definite, positive impact on brain and behavior function. Practicing yoga increases good mood and reduces stress. With that, cognitive ability can improve due to lack of impairment from stress. Additionally, the nature of yoga requires mindfulness and focus. Improved attention ability is another advantage.

Cellular Benefits

In Finland, a study determined that classical music affects listeners on a molecular level. Scientists tested participants’ blood after they listened to Mozart, other composers, and then to no music at all. It turns out that classical music increased gene activity in dopamine and other brain synapses. The most notable gene positively affected was a “risk” one for Parkinson’s disease. It appears as if music therapy may be useful in preventing disease.

Yoga, through its ritualistic breathing practice, naturally brings more oxygen to your cells. Also, through movement, yoga increases blood flow. This improves hemoglobin levels as well as red blood cell count.
Is listening to Mozart overall better for your health than practicing yoga? I would imagine, if you get up and move, or dance to a waltz, the beneficial results would certainly rival one another. Why not try both and be a double-dose recipient of good health?

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