Extra, Extra Read All About It | Positive Effects of Yoga Featured in Mainstream Media

Posted by YOGANONYMOUS on 2/15/11 in Uncategorized

As yoga practitioners we have all (hopefully) explored the correlation between our yoga practice and its effects on the brain and body.  As we know, yoga is typically an experiential practice, one that is learned through direct experience rather than merely listening and taking someone's word for it.  But, once and a while, it's nice to appreciate someone else's word, especially when it is backed with actual scientific case study, for a little bit of positive reinforcement letting us know that head-balancing tricks are actually getting us somewhere. 

Over the past couple of months YOGANONYMOUS has featured several articles on it's blog from a smattering of publications like CNNWebMD, The New York Times, and  The Huffington Post (to name a few) that discuss the connections between Yoga and its positive effects on the brain/body. I wanted to highlight some of my favorites here for you to check out:

First off, there was the New York Times article discussing a recent scientific study which proves that yoga and meditation can actually change our brain. The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. Click here for the full article. 

Then, there was the Medical News Today publication that showed that yoga can be used to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. The article explains that GABA activity levels are found to be significantly reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety. As Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Kim A. Jobst states:  â€œThis study is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression”. 

Our friends from Boston University on-line publication BU Today also weighed in on this interesting finding: "This is the first study when we're able to measure GABA's relation to yoga. GABA is an important neurotransmitter, which is decreased in depressed people and increased in people who take so-called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), like Prozac, and it's also implicated in anxiety disorders. It's been reported for years that yoga helps people with depression and anxiety, but in this study we took people who didn't have any experience with yoga and found that mood scales were higher in the yoga group, and so were GABA levels." Very cool stuff, you can read the rest here

Last but not least, media heavyweights like CNN and ABC News weighed in to report on the findings of a recent University of Rochester Cancer Center study which showed that regular yoga practice may be credited for improved energy levels and quality of sleep for cancer survivors. Read the full article here.

So there you have it my friends; a little bit of positive reinfocement from our friends in mainstream media. It just goes to show that while we may spend most of our free time upside down, in the grand scheme of things, we'll all be coming out right side up. 

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