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9 April 14

Before I get a bunch of emails from people stating they are “praying for me”, I am not suggesting yoga as a religious ritual. I tend to be an anti-proselytizer because I like to be left alone on such personal issues. In fact, I do not pray at all during yoga, since prayer increases anxiety in me because my brains starts going into overdrive, though I understand it has the opposite affect on others. For me yoga is something completely different altogether. Photo on the right is taken from SFgate’s This is Your Brain on Religion. I hope, through my interactions and writings to convey that religion is a very personal thing and respect your wisdom enough to come to your own conclusions in that arena.

Back to Yoga. In general, I tend to be a doer. When stressed, I tend to accelerate my doing in hopes that I can work things out. Over the years, I have learned that over-doing does not relieve anxiety but increases it for me. Sometimes, though I do not know why or how it starts, I get out of the habit of doing a simple 15 minute yoga series in the mornings. Weeks later I am wearing my shoulders like earrings and finding myself snippy or easily agitated or worse. When I do get back into the habit, my sessions grow longer and I find myself more than willing to wake up earlier to get this precious time under my belt before starting the day.

I just learned to day (from Psychology today magazine) that this is not all in my mind,

“GABA: ‘The Anti-Anxiety Molecule’ GABA is an inhibitory molecule that slows down the firing of neurons and creates a sense of calmness. You can increase GABA naturally by practicing yoga, meditation or “The Relaxation Response.”  Benzodiazepines (Such as Valium and Xanax) are sedatives that work as anti-anxiety medication by increasing GABA. These drugs have many side effects and risks of dependency but are still widely prescribed.

A study from the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” found a 27% increase in GABA levels among yoga practitioners after a 60-minute yoga session when compared against participants who read a book for 60 minutes. The study suggests yoga can increase GABA levels naturally.”

Like today, I had one of those” if anything can go wrong it does” days and yet did not get bent out of shape once. It was not until later in the afternoon I realized just exactly how much crap happened but I was still smiling and chuckling it off. Then I remembered I got up early and did my morning yoga. I just got back to it after being off it for a few weeks. Hooray for natural increases in GABA! Not only are they effective, but free!

As a side benefit- I find I eat healthier on those days too. It just seems to get everything going in a smoother fashion for the day. I am sure you have some ways that you have discovered to help you, please feel free to share them :)

 

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