Many of the yogi’s in who come along to our London classes ask us why yoga makes us feel happier and more energetic. Well here’s a little insight.
Researchers at Boston (BUSM) were interested in finding out what exactly does happen to the brain after a yoga session compared to another physical activity, in this case, walking?
The team studied two groups of participants for 12 weeks. One group practiced yoga and the other group walked, both for an hour, three times a week. Prior to the study period, the researchers took a brain scan using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging, then compared it to a second brain scan taken after the participants’ final session of either yoga or walking. The scientists were particularly looking for the gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels in the brain. Low GABA levels tend to be found in those with depression or anxiety, therefore generally the higher the GABA the better the well-being.
The results, which are published in the current issue of the Journaly of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that the GABA levels were higher in the group of yogis versus the group of walkers.
Study participants were also asked to evaluate their state of well-being at various points during the 12 weeks. Those spending their time moving through asanas claimed to have seen greater improvements in mood and reduced anxiety levels compared to those who hit the pavement.
The research team hopes this is a starting point for more studies into yoga as therapy for people suffering from mental disorders.
Yoga therapy is finding more and more demand in the marketplace. But yoga continues to grow amongst the generally busy and stressed consumer as well.
Many of our clients come from the corporate world, and they seek yoga to as a way to restore the balance in their life.