Yoga or Walking for Anxiety Relief?

A recent study showed that yoga beat walking in its ability to reduce anxiety.

One group did yoga three times a week (60 minute sessions) for 12 weeks, while the other group walked for the same amount of time. Participants’ brains were scanned before and after the 12 weeks.

Child's Pose - a restorative yoga poseIn addition to greater improvement in anxiety and mood, the study showed higher levels of GABA in the brains of the yoga group. GABA is a brain chemical known as the anti-anxiety neurotransmitter.

Anti-anxiety medications often work in part by affecting GABA levels in the brain. This study is exciting because it starts to show that we can do this in natural ways, such as yoga.

Of course, walking and other forms of exercise are still good for our physical and emotional well-being! But yoga also adds in an aspect of mindfulness that can be particularly helpful with stress and anxiety. I love yoga and many of my clients find it helpful too.

Lots of yoga studios in town offer the first class free so you can find a studio and a yoga style that works for you. Why not give it a try?