Why Fear, Anxiety and Stress Change our Chemistry. Restorative Yoga to the Rescue! Part I

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer

Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Certified TriYoga Co-Founder Breast Cancer Yoga.

Stress, Fear and Anxiety – Ever wonder why, and what’s up with being stressed out, fearful or anxious? Our bodies sure do react to stress, fear and anxiety. An immediate physical reaction within our body can be felt, causing an increase in heart rate and in the shortness of our breath. The blood vessels constrict in many parts of our body creating these stress hormones that wreak havoc with our mind, body and spirit. For those of us diagnosis with breast cancer we are all too familiar with these common types of stressors.

Let’s talk about our bodies chemicals. Which ones are pertinent or dominant in creating or decrease stress, fear and anxiety. First let’s talk about GABA. GABA is an important calming chemical that our brain produces which can counteract fear, anxiety and stress.  GABA is a neurotransmitter or gamma-amino-butyric, and is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. It is believed that physical and emotional reactions such as fear and anxiety create stress hormones which in turn reduce adequate levels of GABA.  GABA is best known for its calming qualities in balancing mood levels.   Through brain imaging it has been shown that a restorative yoga practice increases GABA levels markedly.  Studies support that when GABA levels are maintained with breast cancer patients, physical stamina increases, stress is reduced and clarity of thoughts return. Daily activities as simple as climbing stairs, and doing the laundry become easier.  GABA is very important for sustained recovery and optimal health.  Stresses caused by breast cancer treatments or surgery can facilitate the reduction in the levels of GABA in our brains. The primary stress hormones, which inhibits GABA levels are epinephrine, norepinephrine,  and cortisol.

Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital  in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, discovered that the practice of yoga boosts brain (GABA) levels, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter chemical.  It has also been shown that sweating is great for detoxifying our bodies and ridding it of trapped toxins and inducing GABA levels for stabilized balanced moods.

Recent research studies confirm the positive results from a sustained yoga practice on GABA.  Studies from Yale and Washington University have shown that mindful meditation and yoga increases your brain’s levels of GABA and effectively combats the effects of depression by reducing your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Now that you understand some of the mechanics of stress on the body it is time to embrace  a restorative yoga practice. It is easy, relaxing and satisfying. To see some easy to learn and to do poses visit our YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/BreastCancerYoga to see for yourself.  Find a restorative yoga class near by or buy a DVD http://www.breastcanceryoga.com/Yogaforbreastcancerdvd.html You won’t regret it.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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  1. […] into a clearer space. A space where we can release, or cleanse ourself of the stresses of illness, anxieties of treatments, and fear of outcomes. The state of worry will be more manageable. When we relax the body, and calm […]


  2. […] Why Fear, Anxiety and Stress Change our Chemistry. Restorative Yoga to the Rescue! Part I (breastcanceryogablog.com) […]


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