I recently read a medical research study by Dr. Shanmugamurthy Lakshmanan a Research Scientist at Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts. Reading medical studies is not usually my jam but this one caught my attention. The title – Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behaviour and Anxiety – A Modern Scientific Perspective.
In a nutshell the research has shown that practicing regular yoga and meditation results in higher levels of the chemical serotonin which is a major player in mood balance. Basically it’s the bodies happy hormone. The same study showed that long-term yoga practitioners have more mass in the areas of the brain associated with contentment. That’s a pretty cool reason to get on your mat.
There have been studies that show that the brain’s gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels are higher after practicing yoga. Higher GABA levels are associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.
I have Bipolar disorder. Yoga is not going to “cure” me or “fix” me but on a day to day basis I definitely see a difference in the days I practice to the days I don’t. When I’m in a low it can be especially hard to roll out my mat but if I can make myself do it I can feel the benefit afterwards. I am totally able to see that just 15 minutes of yoga a day can improve your mood. That it changes your brain mass and chemistry doesn’t seem so much of a reach