Yoga Improves Mood & Lessens Anxiety
Do enough downward dog and things could start looking up. According to a new study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, yoga has a greater positive impact on mood and anxiety than walking and other types of exercise. Despite how annoying they are, this probably even includes those yoga classes where everyone makes orgasm noises (we're super happy for you, but come on...).
Yoga's beneficial psychological effects may be due to its effect on GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical in the brain that helps regulate nerve activity, and which is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders.
Drugs commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety help do so by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Turns out that yoga actually stimulates specific parts of the brain, which in turn lead to higher GABA levels as well. Does anyone else think of that weird kids show, Yo Gabba Gabba (the one where there are dance offs), as they're reading this? Okay, well, now you will the next time you do yoga. You're welcome.
Gives some objective basis for something yogafiles have been claiming for years. More research is still needed via long-term studies to determine whether yoga might make for a safe non-drug treatment for depression.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (2010, November 12). Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety is linked to increased levels of a critical brain chemical, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/11/101111160539.htm