Article: Yoga better than walking for mood, study confirms

This article is in the online edition of The Baltimore Sun.

This article, by Meredith Cohn, is at: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/health/2010/08/yoga_does_improve_mood_clinica.html

August 23, 2010

Yoga better than walking for mood, study confirms

Those who practice yoga probably already know this, but a new study shows that yoga improves mood — even more than walking.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine studied believe that have demonstrated a link between yoga postures and increased GABA levels and decreased anxiety. Their finding are published online in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric, levels in the brain are associated with mood — low levels are found in those with depression and anxiety disorders.

The researchers used magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging to compare the GABA levels in the brains of those practiced yoga three times a week for an hour and those who walked instead. During the 12-week study, those who did yoga had climbing GABA levels.

They also reported at several points during the study that their anxierty was decreasing and mood was improving.

Lead study author, Dr. Chris Streeter, an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the university, said the research is promising and warrants further study. Yoga could be consideered potential therapy for certain mental disorders, he said.

Any yogis out there see such an increase in mood? How about walkers?

My comments:

Anecdotally I agree with this study. Yoga improving one’s mood has been my experience. Another factor could be diet: some of the chemicals in processed food negatively affect mood. Those who seriously study yoga tend to have better diets, and avoid processed and chemical-laden foods. Therefore yoga combined with dietary changes may give the best hope for positively affecting the mood of those with certain mental disorders.