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Yoga vs. Prozac

August 25, 2010

By Brianne Harrison

Here’s another reason to hit the mat and perfect your downward facing dog: yoga has recently been shown to enhance one’s mood and decrease anxiety even better than other forms of exercise.

This probably comes as little surprise to yoga’s many fans, but it’s always nice to have scientific proof. This most recent study was conducted by researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine, who set out to contrast the brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels of yoga students with study participants who spent time walking. Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other anxiety disorders.

Over a 12-week period, the yoga group practiced three times a week for one hour while the other subjects walked for the same period of time. The researchers used magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging to measure GABA levels of both groups before the study started and after the groups’ final hour-long session. The study participants were also asked to assess his or her psychological state at several points throughout the study.

The yoga practitioners claimed a significant decrease in anxiety and better overall moods than the walkers, and their GABA levels also rose. The researchers are hopeful that further studies into yoga’s effects on the mood could lead to therapies for certain mental disorders.

So, if you’re having a rough day, you might want to grab your mat, find a studio, and let your cares slip away…

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anjeanette permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:12 pm

    Down dog is a staple of yoga. It’s important especially for newbies to utilize key positioning skills. I found that Leeann Carey has a great free yoga video on this very thing. Your readers might want to check it out:

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