The Chemistry of Yoga

Introduction

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Yoga is an ancient practice that was used to balance the spiritual, physical, and mental health. There are many different types of yoga, but the most commonly used now is asana which is the physical practice. Yoga reduces stress and anxiety, and improves your balance, flexibility, and strength. I chose yoga because it helps me reduce stress and anxiety from my difficult junior year. Yoga is a good way to decompress and improve my mood and I think everyone should try it at least once.

Composition of ...

  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

    • C4H9NO2

  • Serotonin

  • C10H12N2O


Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA) is created from glutamate in brains cells. It’s a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and it prevents some nerve impulses. Without it too many nerve cells would be released. Low amounts are linked to anxiety disorders and addiction.

  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain but is mostly found in the digestive tract. Low amounts can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, excessive anger, and OCD.

Chemistry's Role

Yoga was first used in ancient India to harmonize the mind, spirit, and body. It helps with strength, flexibility, posture, and balance. Not until the 1980’s did it become a well liked form of exercise.

  • GABA- Calms nervous activity and boosts your mood. Research shows that after one hour of yoga, GABA levels increased by 27% after one hour and after regular practice it helps you overcome anxiety and stressful situations.

  • Serotonin- In the brain it increases mood and causes happiness. After 30 minutes of yoga it starts to increase in the brain and your mood rises.  


Background Research

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and was first started in India. The word yoga comes from a Sanskrit word yuj which means to bind. There are many different types of yoga but the most common is asana, the physical practice. The two most important chemicals in yoga are GABA and serotonin because they both reduce stress and anxiety. With regular practice, your overall mood will increase and you can handle stressful situations easier.

Resources

http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/news/GABA.html

  • What GABA is and what it does in the body

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid

  • GABA’s chemical formula

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php#what_is_serotonin

  • Explains serotonin  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin

  • Serotonin’s chemical formula

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga

  • Background of yoga

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asana

  • Explains asana yoga

About the Author
Casie is a Junior at Billings Senior High School. She is a cheerleader and is involved with student summit. In her free time she likes to hangout with friends and family, fishing, adventuring, and boating. She plans to go to college after high school.
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