Yoga, GABA, Yoga over Walking,

Isn’t Yoga the same as any gentle exercise, say, walking? The answer is no and science helps us understand why.
A study by Chris C. Streeter  on the effects of GABA resulting from walking as distinct from Yoga yields a positive baseline in favour of Yoga: Yoga produces more GABA than does the same amount of time walking.

Pic of Dendrite response with neurotransmitters


Here's what happened. Streeter found suitable subjects and randomly separated them into two groups: walkers and yoga practitioners. Each group practiced their exercise for 60 mins., 3 times weekly for 12 weeks.
In an article published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, authors Chris C. Streeter, Theodore H. Whitfield, Liz Owen et al proposed an experiment. Subjects with no significant medical or psychiatric troubles randomly separated into a group who practiced Yoga and one who walked. Each group practiced their exercise for
60 minutes 3 times weekly for 12 weeks. Regular tests administered at 0,4,8,and 12 weeks determined for mood and anxiety.
Every subject had a magnetic resonance spectroscopy scan before the exercises began and upon completing the 12 week period.

It is true walking is an excellent exercise, however the brain results for Yoga excelled even that of walking. The study showed “The 12-33k yoga intervention was associated with greater improvements in mood and anxiety than a metabolically matched walking exercise.”

Results? The brains of those who practiced yoga compared with those who walked demonstrated greater calm, greater decrease in anxiety, greater ease of sleep, in fact every aspect associated with increased GABA. 

Why do we grow so stressed? What is causing an abundance of anxiety, deepening depression for so many of us?
Part of the response may be found in the Sabre Tooth Tiger Syndrome. In old times, way, way, way back, our brains pumped up for fight or flight whenever a threat, say a sabre tooth tiger approached. This was helpful because the fight or flight response made us ready to go to battle to save our very lives!
After the fight or flight hormones had flooded our systems, we generally spent much time grazing for food, staying in our shelters, walking long distances uninterrupted. In other words, we relaxed!
What's happening to us is the fight or flight signal goes on, say sometime in grade school, for that exam, that social encounter, that after school activity, or perhaps when all of these combine.
We seldom get encouragement for relaxing!
So we learn early to stay super hyped, on the ready and at some point our systems crash. The crash is in my opinion a way to prevent deep damage but most of us do not trust our bodies. We believe unless our will power is in control, the results cannot be right!
If we reverse this we find the beautiful body into which we are born completely capable of letting us know when enough is enough. Time to gear down and let go from waiting for Sabre Tooth Tiger!
Gentle exercise helps in this and now we know Yoga surpasses even walking in providing the kinds of response we need to let go of searching for Sabre Tooth Tigers.



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