Great news for those of you who suffer from seasonal depression or the holiday blues.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine recently published a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that showed that three hours of yoga per week can help combat depression much more effectively than an equivalent amount of other forms of exercise, such as walking.
Researchers monitored two groups of healthy individuals for twelve weeks. One group walked for three hours each week; the other practiced an equivalent amount of yoga. Both groups filled out questionnaires about their mental health and underwent magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging to measure levels of the amino acid GABA. GABA is essential to central nervous system functioning and helps promote a state of internal calm.
The yoga group reported improved mood and lower levels of anxiety, which were reflected in climbing GABA levels.
Yoga participants also showed improvements in strength, endurance, balance and flexibility.
Exactly what the ancient teachings have told us all along!
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