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Study Says Yoga May Help With Depression

Skip the Prozac, Take a Downward Dog Instead

We've known for a while that exercise is a great way to combat stress and increase endorphins levels, but a new study says that the effects of yoga are even more profound when it comes to mental health. In a small study, practicing yoga produced higher levels of "mood improvement" in participants than other types of exercise. Researchers say it's because yoga seems to increase levels of GABA, a brain chemical that helps reduce depression.

Participants either practiced Iyengar yoga or went on walks, three times a week for an hour each time, totaling three months. Prior to starting the study all participants filled out mood questionnaires and underwent brain scans. At the end of the study, they did the same. Researchers found that participants who did yoga scored better on the mood questionnaires and had higher GABA levels. Though doctors say it is too early to replace drug therapy with yoga, these preliminary findings provide hope for alternative, in not complementary, therapy.

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jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
Love my new studio's Candlelight Flow class.... you have to get deeper into your body, especially with balancing poses, because you don't have the visual cues in a regular class. Plus, it is just so beautiful and relaxing to practice by candlelight. I totally believe in the changes in mood...I know I feel so uplifted after I have practiced!
Mouzzer Mouzzer 7 years
wiggle - Handstands are absolutely a fix when I am in a funk, no doubt!! Balancing poses help when my head if filled with too much stuff.
Mouzzer Mouzzer 7 years
I agree too. Yogic breathing with asanas helped me to combat panic attacks. I love doing a short routine before a long walk. Walking is great too for stress and moods.
wiggle wiggle 7 years
I heard that inversions are supposed to help with depression too. Don't know if it is true but a handstand at the wall generally brings a smile to my face.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 7 years
Before I started seriously practicing yoga, I suffered from terrible headaches, mood swings and worst of all - stomach ulcers. I used to have to treat my ulcers with everything from Zantac to antibiotics. But since I started practicing Vinyasa flow nearly a year and a half ago, all these symptoms have disappeared (though it has taken some time) and I haven't had a stomach-ache or headache since.
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