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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mind-Body Connection: Can Yoga Improve Your Mood?

According to the Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Medicine, recent studies have demonstrated that yoga has been shown to increase GABA (gamma-aminobuturic acid), a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity.  GABA is usually reduced in people with mood disorders, and doctors often prescribe medication to increase GABA to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Mind-Body Connection:  Can Yoga Improve Your Mood?

According to the journal article, the study, which was conducted by Dr. Christopher Streeter and his colleagues of Boston University School of Medicine, measured GABA levels in people who practiced yoga and found an increase in GABA levels after a yoga session.

Mind-Body Connection: Can Yoga Improve Your Mood?

Dr. Streeter and his colleagues found these results encouraging and suggest that longer term research studies are needed to continue to explore the benefits of yoga with regard to mood and anxiety.

The study seems to corroborate what many yoga practitioners have been reporting anecdotally for years--that they have a sense of peace and well-being after their yoga sessions.

I also found similar information in Amy Weintraub's book, Yoga for Depression ( as well as in many articles in Yoga Journal (

A word of caution: Although the research findings about how yoga can improve your mood are encouraging, it's always best to consult with your doctor and psychotherapist before you stop or decrease your medication.

I am a NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist. I work with individuals and couples in my private practice in Manhattan.

Mind-body oriented psychotherapy is one of the treatment modalities that I use, depending upon the needs of the client.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aolcom.