Yoga practitioners have long insisted that there was an important mind and body angle to yoga. But this has been lost somewhat amongst the mass of alternative and complimentary therapies on other. In reality lots of therapists that offer whacky remedies at huge cost don’t want us to know that there are other, much cheaper options that may well be more effective.
My personal experience of Yoga and Anxiety
When I suffered from anxiety on a regular basis I used to visit a yoga centre in Totnes in Devon. I had a very good teacher and the yoga itself felt good. It was very relaxing. Let me say that first. I can really believe that on anxiety or stress alone yoga is probably very potent. I felt relaxed enough to sleep!
Is Yoga the answer then?
No, yoga was not the answer to my anxiety. Because Anxiety is a very complicated thing. In my experience, anxious people don’t like sudden change, and becoming suddenly relaxed after years of tension can be very disorientating. I believe that sufferers of anxiety and depression choose to suffer, subconsciously (in some case for secondary gain reasons). I believe that it is important to treat the whole condition, and that does include a cognitive side and a psychotherapeutic side, as well as physical and soul issues.
When the physical tension of anxiety was removed I didn’t feel fantastic. I actually felt a bit bemused because all of my underlying issues were closer to the surface.
For those reasons I would say that Yoga can be an important part of a wider treatment strategy, and if practised regularly an alternative to drug therapy, but not an entire treatment strategy is itself.
“Here’s the quote:
Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, the researchers compared the GABA levels of eight subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga, with 11 subjects who did no yoga but instead read for one hour. The researchers found a twenty-seven percent increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after their session, but no change in the comparison subject group after their reading session….Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga,” said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM and a research associate at McLean Hospital.”