Study: Yoga Stimulates GABA, Induces Relaxation

A study on GABA conducted through the Boston University School of Medicine found that the practice of yoga asanas produce a measurable increase in the levels of gamma aminobutyric acid, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. …


Gamma aminobutyric acid helps induce relaxation and regulate anxiety. It also contributes to motor control, vision, and many other brain functions. Gamma-aminobutyric acid stimulates the anterior pituitary and increasing the levels of the hormone HGH, which contributes significantly to muscle growth, while preventing the creation of fat cells.

In the parallel study, eight yoga practitioners completed a 60-minute yogasana session, while eleven other subjects undertook one hour of reading. Both reading and yoga are activities that the subjects indicated to be relaxing and enjoyable.

Afterwards, measurements were taken that showed a 27% increase in gamma aminobutyric acid levels in the yoga practitioner group after the yoga session, but no change in the reading group after their reading session.

This study supports the idea that yoga asana practice does have a calming and relaxing effect. It also suggests that regular practice of yoga asanas could be helpful in the treatment of disorders with low GABA levels, such as depression and anxiety disorders.

About the Author:

Yogacharya is the director of International Yogalayam, and Editor of “The Yoga News”.

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