Medical Minute 6-30: Yoga Boosts the Brain?

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

Meditation in motion. Yoga instructors will tell you this is true happiness.

"It sort of clears away the stress."

Now, work in the lab shows that work on the mat may be working wonders for your brain.

"We have really cutting edge neuro imaging that allows us to measure GABA in the brain so now we can actually measure a chemical that goes up when people do a Yoga practice," said Chris Streeter, M.D., Boston University School of Medicine.
Boston University School of Medicine's Doctor Chris Streeter. That GABA she mentioned is a chemical in your brain - released when you're happy. These brain scans were snapped before and after yoga sessions. Doctor Streeter's work shows yoga stimulates the brain - boosting mood while decreasing anxiety.

A new study found those who did yoga three times weekly saw a consistent increase in GABA levels. Those who simply walked for exercise saw no change at all. Another study found an hour of yoga boosted GABA levels 27% over relaxing with a book for an hour.

"That information gets sent up to the brain, the brain uses that information so that the GABA levels go up," said Chris Streeter, M.D.

So, turns out yoga's mind-body connection really is a connection.

"Yoga definitely cleanses your body," said Meghan Rozanski Yoga Instructor.

Good news for its 30-million followers.

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