Most people agree that yoga makes them feel better, and a new study has just been published that explains why.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine discovered that practicing yoga increases the level of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a chemical in the brain that regulates nerve activity. While running and other sports have a similar affect, yoga induces this beneficial reaction on a larger scale. Those who regularly practice yoga know of the reduction in anxiety and improved mood that comes as a result, but now they can make the connection at the biochemical level of understanding. “This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression,” says Kim A. Jobst, MA, DM, MRCP, MFHom, DipAc, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.