Use Yoga to Elevate Your Mood
Practitioners of yoga commonly describe feeling happier, less stressed, and more relaxed after a yoga class. Many yoga styles teach meditation and deep breathing techniques to focus the mind on the breath. Other yoga styles focus on the asana or yoga pose to create a physiological, psychological, and/or biochemical effect. Researchers have investigated the practice of yoga to augment positive mood states and decrease feelings of anxiety.
Research published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined an connection between practicing yoga and an increase in brain Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)-ergic activity. Researchers assessed 2 groups of subjects, a group practicing yoga and a group who practiced a walking exercise, over a 12 week session. Researchers examined the subjects brains before and after and comparisons of measures indicated that there was greater improvements in mood and greater decreases in anxiety in the yoga group. Positive correlations between improved mood and increased GABA levels were also noted (lower GABA levels are associated with depression and anxiety).