The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Positive effects of Yoga on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA levels

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is the human brain’s own chemical that is found in decreased quantity in mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and epilepsy. Additionally, yoga postures are linked with higher brain GABA levels. Therefore, a new study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine explores the affect of yoga versus physical activity in mood changes, anxiety and GABA levels. Thirty-four healthy subjects with no medical/psychiatric disorders were chosen for the study and were divided into a yoga group and a walking group. All individuals underwent yoga or matched walking intervention for 60 minutes 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Mood and anxiety scales were measured every 4 weeks and before every brain imaging, which was done three times. At the end of the 12 weeks, the yoga group reported greater improvement in mood and greater decreases in anxiety than the walking group. Moreover, the yoga group had positive relationship between changes in mood scales and changes in GABA levels. Although further studies are warranted, this research shows the favorable effects of yoga on mood and anxiety disorders.

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