Practicing yoga on a regular basis can enhance mood and give a boost to the sense of well-being by reducing anxiety, suggest researchers from the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Yoga can fight against stress, reduce heart rate and blood pressure, raise our lung capacity, and improve our muscle relaxation and body composition.

Previous studies have proved that yoga is effective in cases of anxiety, depression and insomnia as well.

Overall, yoga works with our body mechanism in order to improve our stress coping mechanisms and mind-body awareness.

"Yoga in its full form combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy", NIH backgrounder points out.

Study details
The study, aimed at establishing an association between yoga postures, enhanced gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels and decreased anxiety, looked at 2 different groups of healthy people for a period of 12 weeks.

While participants of the first group practiced yoga three times a week for one hour, those in the second group went for long walks.

The brains of all the participants were scanned using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging at the inception of the research.

Further, the GABA levels of the participants in both the groups were compared at the end of the study.

Also the participants were themselves asked to report their psychological fitness at certain points.

Study results
The participants in the yoga group reported a tremendous decrease in their anxiety levels and mood swings as compared to the walking group.

“Over time, positive changes in these reports were associated with climbing GABA levels,” said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Citing the promising revelations of the study, the researchers suggest that yoga ought to be treated as potential therapy for certain mental disorders.