Article

Effects of Yoga versus walking on mood, anxiety, and brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study

Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, 85 East Newton Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.
Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) (Impact Factor: 1.59). 11/2010; 16(11):1145-52. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2010.0007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Yoga and exercise have beneficial effects on mood and anxiety. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic activity is reduced in mood and anxiety disorders. The practice of yoga postures is associated with increased brain GABA levels. This study addresses the question of whether changes in mood, anxiety, and GABA levels are specific to yoga or related to physical activity.
Healthy subjects with no significant medical/psychiatric disorders were randomized to yoga or a metabolically matched walking intervention for 60 minutes 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Mood and anxiety scales were taken at weeks 0, 4, 8, 12, and before each magnetic resonance spectroscopy scan. Scan 1 was at baseline. Scan 2, obtained after the 12-week intervention, was followed by a 60-minute yoga or walking intervention, which was immediately followed by Scan 3.
The yoga subjects (n = 19) reported greater improvement in mood and greater decreases in anxiety than the walking group (n = 15). There were positive correlations between improved mood and decreased anxiety and thalamic GABA levels. The yoga group had positive correlations between changes in mood scales and changes in GABA levels.
The 12-week yoga intervention was associated with greater improvements in mood and anxiety than a metabolically matched walking exercise. This is the first study to demonstrate that increased thalamic GABA levels are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. It is also the first time that a behavioral intervention (i.e., yoga postures) has been associated with a positive correlation between acute increases in thalamic GABA levels and improvements in mood and anxiety scales. Given that pharmacologic agents that increase the activity of the GABA system are prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety, the reported correlations are in the expected direction. The possible role of GABA in mediating the beneficial effects of yoga on mood and anxiety warrants further study.

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    • "The possible health effects of yoga are numerous because the practices involve the body, breath and mind, thus affecting multiple systems simultaneously. Foremost, yoga practices may impact on the regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System (Streeter et al., 2010; Van der Kolk, 2006), enhancing parasympathetic responsiveness by influence on the vagal nerve (Porges, 1995, 2003). Indeed, yoga reduces blood pressure among people with mild hypertension in non-mental health settings (Hagins, Rundle, Consedine, & Khalsa, 2014), predicts greater heart rate variability (Friis & Sollers, 2013; Telles, Nilkamal, & Acharya, 2011) and improves Type 2 diabetes outcomes (Innes & Vincent, 2007) – all risks associated with common complications of antipsychotic medication treatment (De Hert, Schreurs, Vancampfort, & Van Winkel, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although emerging evidence of yoga interventions shows benefits for people with schizophrenia, research is lacking regarding yoga interventions among forensic inpatients. This pilot study investigated the acceptability and effectiveness of an eight-week mindful yoga programme in improving psychological outcomes in 26 forensic inpatients. Outcome measures included the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Outcome Measure (CORE-OM), as well as a qualitative component post-intervention and at two month follow-up. Trends in the predicted direction suggested reductions in clinical symptoms over time, specifically anxiety. Key themes revealed increased body awareness, relaxation, and self-directed yoga practices and breathing techniques for anxiety management. Ninety-two percent reported acceptance of the programme. Preliminary findings are encouraging and warrant further research into the application of mindful yoga in the management of distress and risk with forensic inpatients.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
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    • "The possible health effects of yoga are numerous because the practices involve the body, breath and mind, thus affecting multiple systems simultaneously. Foremost, yoga practices may impact on the regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System (Streeter et al., 2010; Van der Kolk, 2006), enhancing parasympathetic responsiveness by influence on the vagal nerve (Porges, 1995, 2003). Indeed, yoga reduces blood pressure among people with mild hypertension in non-mental health settings (Hagins, Rundle, Consedine, & Khalsa, 2014), predicts greater heart rate variability (Friis & Sollers, 2013; Telles, Nilkamal, & Acharya, 2011) and improves Type 2 diabetes outcomes (Innes & Vincent, 2007) – all risks associated with common complications of antipsychotic medication treatment (De Hert, Schreurs, Vancampfort, & Van Winkel, 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although emerging evidence of yoga interventions shows benefits for people with schizophrenia, research is lacking regarding yoga interventions among forensic inpatients. This pilot study investigated the acceptability and effectiveness of an eight-week mindful yoga programme in improving psychological outcomes in 26 forensic inpatients. Outcome measures included the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the Perceived Stress Scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Outcome Measure as well as a qualitative component post-intervention and at two-month follow-up. Trends in the predicted direction suggested reductions in clinical symptoms over time, specifically anxiety. Key themes revealed increased body awareness, relaxation and self-directed yoga practices and breathing techniques for anxiety management. Ninety-two percent reported acceptance of the programme. Preliminary findings are encouraging and warrant further research into the application of mindful yoga in the management of distress and risk with forensic inpatients.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
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    • "It is a consensus that a single bout of exercise improves affect (Anderson & Brice, 2011; Dasilva et al., 2011; Szabo, 2003a), which is a mental state that reflects how an activity or a particular situation impacts the person (Duncan & Barrett, 2007). The benefits of a single workout on affect were previously observed in different exercises, including: dance aerobics (Rokka et al., 2010), Nordic walking (Stark et al., 2011), running (Hoffman & Hoffman, 2008; Szabo, 2003a), shadowboxing (Li & Yin, 2008), swimming (Valentine & Evans, 2001), taekwondo (Toskovic, 2001), tai chi (Wang et al, 2010), walking (Dasilva et al., 2011), and yoga (Streeter et al., 2010). Spinning, also referred to as exercise biking or indoor cycling, is ranked among top ten most popular sports among women (Sport England, 2012). "
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