YOGAmotion Blog

What’s all this talk of GABA and Yoga?!

Dec 29 2017

What is GABA? Everyone talks about it, and they’re not referring to the sports stadium in Queensland!

GABA stands for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid and is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system. It’s main role is to reduce the neuronal excitability in the nervous system. Basically, it helps regulate and reduce the ‘fight or flight’ response. In humans, it is also directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone.

Research has shown that increasing GABA levels is effective in treating anxiety, panic disorder, depression, insomnia and addiction. People with depression and anxiety have been shows to have low levels of GABA in their cerebrospinal fluid.

So just how do we get this holy grail of GABA? Yep, yoga.

Research reveals that practising yoga increases brain GABA levels. The question arose as to whether it was exercise in general, such as walking, or was it specifically yoga. The answer was, specifically yoga.

Research shows that a single one hour session can increase GABA by 27%.

Japanese yoga is all about movement coordinated with diaphragmatic breathing. We also work with the body’s meridians so that after a yoga session, you in effect have a similar feeling to after an accupuncture or zen shiatsu treatment. The body and mind are in optimum state of balance.

Interestingly, it is also possible to use GABA supplements. Whether they are more effective than increasing GABA naturally through yoga is yet to be determined.  In Australia, GABA supplements are not available. They are however, available over the counter in the States and Europe.

My uncle, a chemist in Miami sent me some to try. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the GABA supplement powder gives me that chilled out feeling like yoga does, if it enhances what I can get through the yoga after a day wrangling a toddler….if it improves my sleep like yoga does. Contact me if you’d like to know the outcome!

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