Yoga has many health benefits, but here’s another reason for you to do it. That happiness you feel after every session isn’t just in your head. It turns out that yoga does have the power to change the chemistry of our brain. This form of exercise can impact our pain tolerance, depression, and anxiety – and it’s all in a good way.
Yoga Supports GABA Release
Gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA) is a part of the brain that suppresses neural activities and is sometimes called the “chill out” neurotransmitter of the body. It has a calming effect, just like when you drink alcohol – but without the side effects. Yoga increases the GABA levels of the brain and this exercise is therefore used as a natural remedy for anxiety.
Regular yoga sessions may help those with anxiety without the need for drugs, which can actually lead to symptoms such as:
- Drug withdrawal-related anxiety
In fact, 60 minutes of yoga can increase GABA levels by up to 27%, making the exercise an effective way to combat anxiety.
Yoga Helps with Chronic Pain
According to the National Institutes of Health, yoga is useful in preventing chronic pain effects to the brain. People who are depressed generally have lower gray matter in the brain because of their exposure to chronic pain and this can lead to various other problems, such as:
- Emotional issues
- Impaired memory
- Lower pain tolerance
- Reduced cognitive functioning
Yoga, along with meditation, can provide positive effects to people with chronic pain as it improves the levels of gray matter in the brain.
Yoga is Good for Bipolar Individuals
According to a research published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, yoga may be able to help manage bipolar disorder. More than 100 people were asked in the survey about how yoga affected their lives and most of them said it is beneficial to their mental health.
Yoga Can Help Boost Your Brainpower
Poses, such as downward dogs, help people relax and get rid of stress. But that’s not all; these poses may also increase the function of the brain. According to the University of Illinois, you only need 20 minutes of Hatha yoga to boost how your brain retains information. The same length of yoga session may help improve your focus as well.
You will notice that after a yoga session, you feel happy, strong, and centered. Research has proven that yoga can indeed help make you happy. So, next time you’re looking for a mood-booster, start doing some simple yoga poses no matter where you are.