3 Yoga Moves to Boost Your Mood
By Debra Rodzinak
Studies have proven that exercise escalates the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in regulating mood and has been found to be linked with depression when in low levels. Dopamine also plays an important role in the body. Dopamine is involved in governing movement and is associated with the brain’s reward system. Therefore, raising the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body can increase happiness and boost a person’s mood.
There are several yoga poses that can directly raise the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body.
Breath of Joy
First, stand in a relaxed position with the feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Raise the arms over the head and breathe slowly and steadily through the nose. Swing the arms to the side while continuing to breathe. Finally, swing the arms up again and continue to breathe. Bend at the waist slowly and exhale through the mouth. Slowly raise back up. This exercise is all about the breathing, so slow down and focus on the breaths.
Get the mindset of a child as you perform this exercise. Get into a runner’s lunge position staying light on the fingertips. Raise the hips slightly. Switch the legs by jumping. Keep switching the legs faster and faster while still retaining correct form. Continue for 30 seconds. This exercise is intended to elevate the heart rate.
Kneel on the floor with knees hip-width apart. As you press the shins into the floor, rotate the thighs inward toward each other. This movement releases the back. Try not to clench the gluteal muscles. For additional support, place the hands on the lower back. Lean back while looking forward and press the hips forward.
For a deeper variation of this pose, take one hand and place it on the heel of the same side foot. Take the opposite arm and lift it overhead. Reach back and look at the fingertip. Hold this position and breath several times. Switch sides and repeat. The full camel pose involves reaching back and resting both hands on the heels.
So, if you are feeling down and out, try these three poses to send dopamine and serotonin flooding into your body. When you are done, you will feel better, your body will be looser, and you will have an overall better outlook on life.