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Yoga elevates your mind: some proof

Posted Jan 13 2008 10:14am 3 Comments

Any yogi can tell you that yoga will help you to become calm and overcome stress and depression. but up until now there has not been enough scientific proof to convince the skeptics. This may be changing, take a look at this excerpt from the Los Angeles Times:

Study Shows Hard Evidence That Yoga Elevates State of Mind

THE NOTION that yoga is a tonic for the mind, as well as the body, isn’t such a stretch anymore.

Practicing yoga might boost a neurotransmitter associated with regulating depression and anxiety disorders, according to a new report in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., used magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging to measure levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, in the brains of eight regular yoga practitioners. They found that the yoga group experienced a 27 percent increase in GABA levels after an hour of yoga, while 11 control subjects, who read for an hour, received no such benefits.

“The study shows that there’s a neurochemical response to the practice of yoga that’s similar to neurochemical responses we see when people are treated with antidepressants,” says lead author Dr. Chris Streeter, an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.

Although yoga has been associated with a reduction in depression and anxiety, the study is one of the first to provide hard evidence. “This is a behavioral intervention that you can use to augment treatment,” Streeter says. “I would recommend it.”

– Los Angeles Times

Comments (3)
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It's funny how some people need a study to prove what those of us already know through personal experience. I will also add that if you practice yoga and meditation diligently, and you are willing to let go of your drama, negative thinking, and attachment to it all, you can use yoga to cure yourself of anxiety and depression...not just "augment treatment" as that doctor says.

While I definitively believe in Yoga and I'm not at all into the scientific proof deal, this study simply doesn't have a large enough population to be statistically valid. Nineteen participants?

Here's the study if anyone's interested in further reading.
I definitely know from experience that yoga is one of the greatest stress relievers on the planet. But of course it is good to get some scientific studies to support what us yogis already know!
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