New study finds new connection between yoga and mood

Aug 19, 2010

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that yoga may be superior to other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety. The findings, which currently appear on-line at Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, is the first to demonstrate an association between yoga postures, increased GABA levels and decreased anxiety.

The researchers set out to contrast the brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels of yoga subjects with those of participants who spent time walking. Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread .

The researchers followed two randomized groups of healthy individuals over a 12-week long period. One group practiced yoga three times a week for one hour, while the remaining subjects walked for the same period of time. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging, the participants' brains were scanned before the study began. At week 12, the researchers compared the GABA levels of both groups before and after their final 60-minute session.

Each subject was also asked to assess his or her psychological state at several points throughout the study, and those who practiced yoga reported a more significant decrease in and greater improvements in mood than those who walked. "Over time, positive changes in these reports were associated with climbing GABA levels," said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM.

According to Streeter, this promising research warrants further study of the relationship between yoga and , and suggests that the practice of be considered as a potential therapy for certain mental disorders.

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Provided by Boston University Medical Center

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freethinking
not rated yet Aug 20, 2010
More studies and more money and more positive press about yoga. This study is a junk study. Compare yoga to walking and then finding that yoga has different effect is the same as comparing a martial art to yoga and saying that there is a differnce.

Yoga is at best and rarely nothing more than an exercise system, at worst it is religion masking as exercise.

If you want to practice yoga as a religion thats your choice, but don't mask it's intent.

Before I get flamed. If your yoga teacher doesnt mix religion with the exercise, then this doesnt apply. But before you flame me, listen carefully to what the instructors say, go into the history of yoga and its intent, then if I'm wrong flame me.