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 Yoga, Science and Philosophy
 Yoga protects the brain from depression - study
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395 Posts

Posted - Aug 23 2010 :  05:37:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message

Practising yoga really does relax your mind as well as your body more than other types of exercise, a new study claims.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

Those who did yoga reported lower levels of anxiety Photo: ALAMY
Researchers have found that three sessions of the exercise a week can help fight off depression as it boosts levels of a chemical in the brain which is essential for a sound and relaxed mind.

Scientists found that the levels of the amino acid GABA are much higher in those that carry out yoga than those do the equivalent of a similarly strenuous exercise such as walking.

The chemical, GABA, is essential to the function of brain and central nervous system and which helps promote a state of calm within the body.

Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders.

Scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, spent 12 weeks monitoring two groups of healthy individuals, half of whom walked for three hours each week, while the other half spent the same time doing yoga.

Participants brains were scanned before and after the study using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging to measure GABA levels, while they were also asked questions about their psychological wellbeing throughout the study.

Those who did yoga reported lower levels of anxiety and increases in their mood than the walkers.

Professor Chris Streeter said yoga participants increased feeling of wellbeing was associated with GABA levels.

He said: "Over time, positive changes in these reports were associated with climbing GABA levels."

Prof Streeter called for further research into using yoga as a treatment for other forms of mental illness.

The research was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Katie Prior, of mental health charity Mind, welcomed the study.

She said: "Any kind of exercise is good for improving a person's mood and self esteem. It makes you feel good and look good, both of which help with mental wellbeing.

"Yoga is a relaxing, low impact activity for people who don't like the thought of walking or running.

"It can be done in the privacy of a person's own home, or people can join a class where they can meet others – this is a great way to meet people, especially for those who may suffer from isolation and loneliness."

The research is good news for yoga which along with pilates was criticised earlier this month for not pushing the body as hard as other exercises.

The University of Wisconsin said that it fell short of what was considered an all-round workout.

They found that while yoga did improve strength, endurance, balance and flexibility, they burned very few calories — suggesting they had not pushed their bodies hard enough to gain substantial aerobic improvements.

In fact, researchers found that a typical class used 144 calories in 55 minutes— the same amount burned during a slow walk.

Even power yoga, which requires participants to perform poses in quick succession, was found to burn only about 237 calories per class and to boost the heart rate to only 62 per cent of the maximum that constitutes a light aerobic workout.

A heart rate of 64-94 per cent maximum is the level needed to work the heart and lungs effectively.

On average, a 50-minute Pilates session burned 174 calories (beginner) and 254 (advanced) — half the amount you might burn on a run of similar duration.


2 Posts

Posted - Jan 28 2011 :  03:36:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit laurahill's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice article.Yogaasnas always provide the mental relaxation and stress relief.It improves the brain functions and prevent the depression.
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7 Posts

Posted - Feb 28 2011 :  03:56:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Marina_J's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
A regular yoga therapy practice over the long term can be a powerful tool for emotional healing and integration. Yoga is a relaxing form of exercise that can help alleviate depression. Yoga not only cultivates an inner quiet but also helps melt away stress and anxiety. Both meditation and yoga poses help you attack the root cause of depression.
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2516 Posts

Posted - Feb 28 2011 :  05:19:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
that is for sure....
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United Kingdom
741 Posts

Posted - Feb 28 2011 :  12:31:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit riptiz's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I never realised yoga was meant to be an aerobic exercise
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395 Posts

Posted - Mar 05 2011 :  02:59:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yeah, even if the aerobic part provides such results, makes one wonder about the effects of the more advanced practices..
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1 Posts

Posted - Apr 13 2020 :  04:07:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit stephensam's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
People now a days suffering with depression problem due to so many reason such as work pressure and other problem. But doing simple exercise will help them to overcome depression. Simple exercise supports to reduce depression and also make the body into comfortable. So doing simple exercise boost body activities and keep them to stay away from depression.
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United Arab Emirates
61 Posts

Posted - Apr 20 2020 :  5:10:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I definitely agree yoga is one of the very effective therapy to help with anxiety/depression
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177 Posts

Posted - Aug 15 2020 :  07:59:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I do Iyengar yoga at least weekly, about 90 minutes each session, in a Zoom class lead by an Iyengar teacher (after nearly 10 years working with him in in-person group lessons). The effort follows a curve with the highest intensity (heart rate, muscle effort, how close to anaerobic) after maybe 30 minutes. If he connects a series of asanas together into a stream involving lunges and balances, it can be VERY strenuous though it doesn't match the expectation of HIIT. Then we ramp down with less strenuous poses, ending in 5 minutes of savasana. I don't tend to use the mantra during that, but sometimes it starts spontaneously.

The same teacher is perfectly capable of keeping it all lighter and more heady. We several times have done detailed study of tadasana (mountain pose), where you are theoretically just standing there.

Originally posted by riptiz

I never realised yoga was meant to be an aerobic exercise

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177 Posts

Posted - Aug 15 2020 :  08:05:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Another point is that gentle stretches are muscular effort, which elevates your heart rate and warms your body. What makes your body stretch is force, of perhaps your arms pulling you in a spinal twist to get more extension than you could just with your torso muscles or performing such stretches with your legs in padmasana or siddhasana.
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United Arab Emirates
61 Posts

Posted - Sep 24 2020 :  07:48:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
This is so true.
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1 Posts

Posted - Feb 17 2021 :  12:29:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Really an informative article..
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Gustavo Woltmann

22 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2021 :  07:32:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing this article
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