IMR Press / JIN / Volume 20 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2002036
Open Access Short Communication
Effect of combined yoga and transcranial direct current stimulation intervention on working memory and mindfulness
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1 Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Whitby, ON L1N 5S9, Canada
2 Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Non-Invasive Neurostimulation Therapies Laboratory, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
3 Department of Psychology and Neurosciences, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 44139 Dortmund, Germany
4 International Graduate School of Neuroscience, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44801 Bochum, Germany
5 Department of Neurology, University Medical Hospital Bergmannsheil, 44789 Bochum, Germany
*Correspondence: (Fidel Vila-Rodriguez)
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2021, 20(2), 367–374;
Submitted: 26 January 2021 | Revised: 8 March 2021 | Accepted: 13 April 2021 | Published: 30 June 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Transcranial direct stimulation, a non-invasive neurostimulation technique for modulating cortical excitability, and yoga have both respectively been shown to positively affect cognition. While preliminary research has shown that combined transcranial direct stimulation and meditation may have synergistic effects on mood and cognition, this was the first study to explore the combination of transcranial direct stimulation and yoga. Twenty-two healthy volunteers with a regular yoga practice were randomized to receive either active transcranial direct stimulation (anodal left, cathodal right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) followed by yoga intervention or sham transcranial direct stimulation followed by yoga intervention a double-blind, cross-over design over two separate intervention days. Outcome measures included working memory performance, measured with the n-back task and mindfulness state, measured with the Toronto Mindfulness Scale, and were conducted offline, with pre-post assessments. Twenty participants completed both days of the intervention. Active transcranial direct stimulation did not have a significant effect on working memory or levels of mindfulness. There was a significant placebo effect, with better performance on day 1 of the intervention, irrespective of whether participants received active or sham transcranial direct stimulation. There was no significant difference between active versus sham transcranial direct stimulation concerning working memory performance and mindfulness, which may be accounted by the small sample size, the transient nature of the intervention, the fact that yoga and transcranial direct stimulation concerning were not conducted simultaneously, and the specific site of stimulation.

Transcranial direct-current stimulation
Working memory
Fig. 1.
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