• April R Roush-Stanley

Your Brain on Yoga -Current Topic Related to Chemistry

Chemistry (APU Discussion Post) Week 10:

“This is Your Brain on Yoga: How Regular Yoga Practice Changes Brain Chemistry and Influences Well-being.”

This Article touches in on the science of, or the Chemistry (which is gaining more awareness and insight) of Yoga and what is happening on a cellular or chemical (often hormonal) level in the body, and like anything else, the funding for these studies has to be available -I think the importance of understanding yoga and its many benefits is on the rise which will ultimately lead to more scientific based studies/discoveries/explanations/etc.

What this article explains, briefly, is how practicing yoga changes brain chemistry in the body, particularly relating to mood (stress/anxiety/happiness/etc.) by releasing a chemical naturally produced within our bodies called GABA(Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), which is imperative in “suppressing neural activity” and is what “classical anti-anxiety medications” do -they “encourage the release of GABA in the central nervous system [CNS],” in order to reduce feelings of stress/anxiety/fear. In other words, GABA helps you relax. You can think of it as the chemical inducer of the relaxation response verse the fight or flight response.

This is vitally important in today’s world because we spend so much of our time in the ‘fight or flight’ (Autonomic Nervous System, ANS -voluntary, under the Sympathetic Nervous System, SNS) when we are truly meant to only ‘visit’ that state temporarily and when necessary (like being chased by a pack of wolves -which is also why it is coined the acute stress response), and we are meant to live in the state of ‘rest and digest’ (Also under the ANS but under the Parasympathetic Nervous System, PNS), and this is a Holistic way of bringing ourselves back into the state of mind of peace…

I find this article not only interesting, but also imperative to individual health, which has a rippling affect into home and work life, which broadens even further and I truly believe has the potential to change the world.

According to google, the Chemical Formula for GABA is C₄H₉NO₂

Also, if you search Yoga and Chemistry on you will find studies about Yoga affecting the Chemistry of the body (particularly brain chemistry and therefore mental wellness)

Other interesting reads:

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