Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels

by:  Nancy Levenson

Just as yoga has many faces; Integrative Yoga Therapy, Birkram, Iyengar, Ashtanga, etc., depression too has many faces; minor, clinical, severe, seasonal and, episodic.  In a study published in 2010 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers set out to determine if the effects of yoga could increase GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) levels of the brain, enhance mood and reduce anxiety of the participants.

GABA is a major neurotransmitter and regulator of our nervous system. The nervous system governs the activities of our body and is responsible for the voluntary conscious and automatic non-conscious activity.  GABA’s role is in the nervous system is to work as an antagonist, firing neurons that block chemicals and induce calming effect.  GABA can be said to support the nervous systems – parasympathetic system, that system of the body responsible for inducing relaxation.

During this research study of a yoga and control group,  the team measured  GABA levels before and after practicing yoga and found that GABA levels had risen by an average 27%.  Mood levels were improved and anxiety lessened in the participants. This led to their conclusion that yoga was an ideal protocol for treating anxiety and depression.  Read the entire research study here.

In my yoga therapy practice, I offer clients one-on-one movement based on their initial health and wellness.  Not every client experiences depression or anxiety in the same way.  In some cases, a client experiencing hyper related symptoms will be guided through a Langhana practice to support their healing, while a client with hypo conditions may undertake a more Brahmana practice.  In both cases, clients participate in a holistic approach to their healing that includes movement, breathing exercises, energy movement, emotional healing, meditation, and lifestyle awareness and tools.  Supporting your healing with the right type of yoga is as important as choosing the right medication and dosage.

Joyful Warrior - NamasteWorksWe also offer an annual program, The Joyful Warrior – bringing more joy into your life through yoga.  This program is offered in a small group setting for a six week period to help clients lift their mood, create movement and share with one another.

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is The Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.  We offer specialized private yoga therapy programs, classes, trainings, workshops and retreats – with healing at the focus.  We serve clients suffering with anxiety, depression, stress, structural issues and respiratory and digestive diseases that seek wellness.  We custom tailor each client’s wellness program based on a vision of health as a unity of body, mind and spirit.

NamasteWorks Yoga introduces “The Healing Ribbon™” a therapeutic yoga program for breast cancer clients

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness invites you to take part in its newest offering, The Healing Ribbon™, an eight week program specifically designed to bring the therapeutic applications of yoga to women with breast cancer. Barbara Bloodgood, a breast cancer survivor and a trained breast cancer yoga instructor, will be your guide on this journey toward wellness and health through yoga.

The intention for this eight week program is to help you develop tools and techniques for coping with breast cancer at all levels, physical, energetic, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Each ninety minute session will deepen your self-awareness of your physical body, enhance your flow of energy and breath through the body, and bring you in touch with your feelings and emotions, as well allowing you to be silently present to all that occurs with growing objectivity.

“I’m delighted to bring forth new programs targeted specially to certain populations. I’ve been envisioning The Healing Ribbon™ program for some time now and am excited to have found a teacher who can deliver this service to the community. In addition to this program, the center will also be offering The Joyful Warrior™ a program designed for anyone suffering from seasonal affective disorder, depression or just wanting to invite more JOY into their lives,” said Nancy Levenson, founder of the center.

The Healing Ribbon™ classes start October 21 and are held at the New Center of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness in the heart of Old Town Littleton, 5860 S. Curtice Street, Littleton, CO 80120.

New Therapeutic Yoga Center Opens in Littleton, Colorado

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness opens its doors to a new Therapeutic Yoga Center in Littleton, this October at 5860 South Curtice St. The new center will serve as a place to Discover Yoga As A Healing Art.

This warm and supportive space, housed inside a refurbished home built in 1906, is designed to bring true healing and growth for those desiring to move from dis-ease towards optimal health and those desiring a more classical approach to yoga. The center’s primary focus is providing respiratory, circulatory, stress-related, and anxiety based therapeutic yoga services, small group breath with movement classes, and private sessions.

The center also offers targeted programs, like The Healing Ribbon™ a therapeutic yoga approach to Breast Cancer, led by breast cancer survivor and trained breast cancer yoga instructor, Barbara Bloodgood and The Joyful Warrior™ a program for women with depression, seasonal affective disorder or just seeking to find more JOY in life.

The center provides easy access to Littleton and Highlands Ranch residents. For more information about the center and any upcoming programs visit our classes and workshops page or stop by the Open House, Saturday October 23 from 11-2p.

(c) Namasteworks Yoga + Wellness, LLC. Founder, Nancy Levenson, Serving the Highlands Ranch and Littleton, CO communities. http://www.namasteworksyoga.com