Do you know someone who is obsessed with yoga?
Thought that they were a bit crazy, but wondered if they’re onto something? Or are you the obsessed friend, but don’t know why yoga feels so magic? Well then you need to read this article, it details the science behind why yoga makes you feel so good.
The ins and outs of the body
We all know by now that physical health is linked to your mental health, and if you didn’t then you’re in for a treat of a realisation. The asanas were carefully crafted over thousands of years, since the pre-Vedic times, to regulate the body and reset it to it’s natural state.
Something we are all in need of in the stationery and screen-focused world we live in. The asanas work by minimising and encouraging the blood to flow to specific organs and glands. This process regulates the endocrine system, the nervous system, and prana (energy). This balancing and restoring of the body to its natural state boosts our mood, as can be seen in the following research.
The feel-good effects of yoga
There are many recognised studies which demonstrate the effectiveness of Yoga-based interventions on enhancing our well-being. Yoga and meditation have long been accepted by the medical community as methods of managing stress.Keshavan et al. (2013) found that various yogic practices, such as, asanas, meditation, pranayama (breath control) and savasana (corpse pose) are comparable to modern behavioural modification techniques for anxiety, this has resulted in these practices being recognised in the medical field as relaxation techniques.
Pramanik et al. (2009) found slow paced Bhastrika Pranayama (bellows breath) improves the automatic nervous system by enhancing the activation of the parasympathetic system which helps us to manage stress. Streeter et al. (2007) discovered that yoga increases levels of GABA in the brain. GABA is an amino acid which relives anxiety, improves mood, reduces symptoms of PMS and ADHD. As well as promoting lean muscle growth, fat burning, it stabilises blood pressure and relives pain. Arguably, GABA is the secret ingredient in a happy healthy yogi. Overall, it has been established that yoga brings a significant improvement of life both psychically and mentally to those who practice it (Keshavan et al., 2013).
This article has briefly touched on what makes yoga different from other exercises. As well as an introduction into what physical effect the asanas have on a practitioner’s body which leads to mental changes. To find out more on the research mentioned in this article, the sources are below. Researching the science behind yoga will transform the way you see your practice. If you have any questions or want to chat about this fascinating subject, then get in touch.
Keshavan, M. S., Rao, N. P., & Rao, T. S. (2013). Yoga and mental health: Promising road ahead, but proceed with caution. Indian journal of psychiatry, 55(Suppl 3), S329–S331. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.116295
Pramanik, T., Sharma, H.O., Mishra, S., Mishra, A., Prajapati, R., & Singh, S. (2009). Immediate effect of slow pace bhastrika pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(3), 293-295.
Streeter, C.C., Jensen, J.E., Perlmutter, R.M., Cabral, H.J., Tian, H., Terhune, D.B., & Renshaw, P.F. (2007). Yoga Asana sessions increase brain GABA levels: a pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(4), 419-426.