Feeling ‘happy’ has everything to do with the chemical reactions in our body. Yoga teaches us that happiness is always available to us, no matter what our circumstances. Research confirms the profound influence of yoga on the body and the mind. The mind-body connection achieved through yoga is one of the most effective and natural ways to treat stress and depression, and generates feelings of peace. Some may write it off as just another exercise-induced dopamine high, but the mind-body connection created in yoga can facilitate change at a cellular level.
As you stretch for yoga poses, you literally move energy throughout your body, thus casting away the doubt, anxiety, stress, etc. that could plague your body and mind. Yoga is about flexibility and over time, you will start to move like water, and that’s going to connect your body and mind together.
There’s a certain peace that comes with the concentrated meditative elements and the quiet motions of yoga. By breathing deeply and focusing on what you’re doing, you’ll find that the body responds accordingly. Over time, you will start to gain strength, and the hormone oxytocin starts to come through. This natural chemical release is the key to health benefits and well-being. Practicing yoga stimulates the body to release oxytocin. So the biological response to yoga is this hormone release, which will give you elation, release of anxiety, reduction of depression, and even lowering blood pressure. This creates the essence of happiness and builds towards better emotional well-being.
The amino acid GABA, short for gamma-amino-butyric acid, is pivotal to your brain health and nervous system function. The level of this amino acid also determines how relaxed you are. Patients diagnosed with depression and other anxiety disorders typically test very low for GABA. Practitioners of yoga have higher levels of this compound in their bodies than people who participate in other exercises.
The relationship between body and mind is at the core of what yoga teaches. The movements help the body and the meditative elements help the mind, making yoga one of the most compelling sources of happiness.