Get Your Downward Dog on! Yoga Decreases Anxiety & Improves Mood

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on March 10, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH

Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person’s mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, according to an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Yoga practitioners have been shown to have higher levels of GABA, a brain chemical that acts like an endogenous antidepressant. It’s associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety, and is often reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders. That’s why drugs that increase GABA are commonly prescribed to help these conditions.

The research suggests that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas that improve the regulation (production and release) of neurotransmitters such as GABA.

To naturally improve your mood and relieve anxiety, try the downward dog (pictured) to lengthen and invigorate the entire spine, or an asana (posture) that opens the chest up-and-out – it’ll bring the energy in, and help uplift you!

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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