18/10/2010 08:41 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Is Yoga Better For Your Mood Than Walking?

Flickr: lululemon athletica

Doing the downward dog lifts your spirits more than taking your pet for a walk, according to a new scientific study.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine recently discovered practising yoga can help boost GABA levels in the brain. GABA - gamma-aminobutyric acid - is a neurotransmitter which helps the brain calm down and focus.

The study found that those practising yoga three times a week for an hour had higher levels of GABA than those who just read a book.

The team used magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging to compare levels of the natural valium in volunteers' brains.

The results proved that yoga could be used to help fight anxiety and depression.

"The practice of yoga should be explored as a treatment for disorders with low GABA levels such as depression and anxiety disorders," said lead researcher Dr. Chris Streeter.

"Future studies should compare yoga to other forms of exercise to help determine whether yoga or exercise alone can alter GABA levels."

The full findings are published online in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

What makes you feel good? Sun salutations or stretching the legs in the great outdoors? Share your happiness tips below!