With its emphasis on breathing practices and meditation—both of which help calm and center the mind— it’s hardly surprising that yoga also brings mental benefits, such as reduced anxiety and depression. What may be more surprising is that it actually makes your brain work better.
All exercise can boost your mood by lowering levels of stress hormones, increasing the production of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, and bringing more oxygenated blood to your brain. But yoga may have additional benefits. It can affect mood by elevating levels of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is associated with better mood and decreased anxiety.
Meditation also reduces activity in the limbic system—the part of the brain dedicated to emotions. As your emotional reactivity diminishes, you have a more tempered response when faced with stressful situations.
Drugs and talk therapy have traditionally been the go-to remedies for depression and anxiety. But complementary approaches, such as yoga, also helps, and yoga stacks up well when compared with other complementary therapies.
yoga is considered one of the oldest forms of exercise and although there are many different styles, from gentle to rigorous, yoga practice generally involves stretching, breathing and a period of deep relaxation or mediation.
yoga is a form of physical exercise that involves different body poses, breathing techniques and meditation.
Regular practice of yoga may help to: