By Jamey Jones
It has long been known that physical exercise can positively affect mood. Exercise is usually recommended for people suffering from depression and anxiety. This is good news, as exercise is a great alternative to the antidepressants that are given out for many health conditions (not just mood disorders!), especially in women.
Better news yet, yoga has been found to have an even greater effect on mood than regular exercise! In a recent study, participants were asked to either practice yoga or to walk for one hour, three times a week over a period of 12 weeks. Researchers measured levels of GABA (a calming neurotransmitter) over the twelve week period, in addition to collecting information from participants about their moods.
The group practicing yoga regularly experienced less anxiety and greater improvements in mood than those who walked regularly. Further, these mood improvements were associated with increases in GABA levels. Low GABA levels are associated with depression and anxiety disorders. Researchers of this study suggest that yoga be considered as therapy for certain mood disorders.
This study comes as no surprise. How many times do we come into yoga practice feeling not-so-great, and then come out of the practice with a whole new perspective? Your yoga practice is a place where you meet your true self. You discover your true nature, and can begin to work on those qualities which best serve you. It´s a natural progression-certainly with ups and downs-that can bring benefits that come off the mat and into your life.