Regular yoga practice can help fight off depression, reduce anxiety and help you stay calm, shows new US research. Boston University School of Medicine researchers found three yoga sessions a week boosted levels of the brain chemical GABA in the body. gamma-aminobutyric acid, is the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. While GABA is an amino acid, it is classified as a neurotransmitter and helps induce relaxation and sleep. It balances the brain by inhibiting over-excitation. GABA contributes to motor control, vision, and many other cortical functions. Anxiety is also regulated by GABA.
This amino acid is essential for healthy brain function and the central nervous system and low levels are linked with depression and anxiety disorders. The study looked at two groups of people – one group walked for three hours a week, while the other group did three hours of yoga. Brain scans showed those doing yoga had much higher levels of GABA than the walkers; they also reported lower levels of anxiety plus boosted mood.