Yoga helps boost mood, relieve anxiety


Research is finding that yoga really does help! Should you drop therapy and just do yoga? That might work for some but not others. Just try it and see. Yoga can certainly be a good addition to talk therapy.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that compared with walking, yoga appears to be accompanied by greater improvement in mood and decrease in anxiety and a boost in the brain chemical (GABA) associated with these benefits.

Those who did yoga three times per week saw a consistent increase in GABA levels. Those who simply walked for exercise saw no change at all. Another study found an hour of yoga boosted GABA levels 27 percent over relaxing with a book for an hour.

“That information gets sent up to the brain, the brain uses that information so that the GABA levels go up,” the author the the study, Chris Streeter says. GABA is the chemical that helps lift your mood and reduce anxiety.

Her study is the first to demonstrate the GABA-mood-yoga connection by looking at actual changes in the brain using scanning technology.

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