Top 5 Reasons Yoga Will Improve Your Mood

Vinogradov Illya
Aficionados make endless claims about yoga’s benefits, touting everything from weight loss to bliss. Do the estimated 20 million Americans who practice yoga believe that making like a pretzel will bring enlightenment? Maybe some do—and they might actually be onto something. Studies published in everything from the “Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal” to popular magazines agree there’s proof that yoga elevates people’s mood.

5 Sexy Time

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In his book, Broad also claims yoga originally sprang from orgiastic sex cults. The yogic practices were meant to enhance arousal, he said, and still do. So if you’re feeling a tad excited on your yoga mat, don’t worry; it’s natural. According to Indian studies, married couples who practiced yoga together experienced more desire, orgasms and satisfaction. And that’s got to improve your mood.

4 Human Contact

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People are generally happy to be at yoga class and are exhibiting their better behavior. Other students will probably be polite to you and maybe even smile. So going to a yoga studio or gym is a way to get some good human contact, as opposed to seeking company in lines at the DMV or post office. In a world where an increasing number of people live alone and lead more isolated lives, this can mean a lot. The teacher might even lay gentle hands on you to adjust a pose.

3 Peace and Quiet / Shutterstock

The world has become a cacophonous place. Yoga class is now one of the few venues where cell phones, texting and the constant e-chatter of modern society is taboo. Richard Broad, author of “The Science of Yoga,” cites the de-stressing “anti-civilization” aspect as one of the biggest benefits of doing yoga. If you really want quiet, find a teacher who doesn’t play music or talk constantly. By the time class is over, you might have forgotten why you were so stressed out in the first place.

2 You Can Do it In Bed

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What if you’re too depressed or lazy to get out of bed? Yoga teacher Amy Weintraub fought depression for years before eventually finding relief in yoga. She has developed a form of yoga called “LifeForce”—with depressed students in mind—which can be done in bed or on a chair. Her style incorporates meditations to lift your mood, and mantras and breathing techniques to regulate emotions.

1 Elevated GABA Levels

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While many claims of yoga’s benefits are subjective, objective information is available. Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine found that yoga increases the brain’s level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. Lower levels of GABA correlate to anxiety and depression, so an increase is a positive sign. When scientists compared a walking group to a yoga group during 12 weeks of study, the yogis came out on top. GABA levels were up, and self-reported measures of anxiety were down.

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