If the winter blues have you bluer than you want to be, consider an adventure into the arts of yoga and pilates. Sure, walking is an age-old way to unwind from daily stresses, but with the sidewalks in much of Norwalk are more like a climb through a Martian crater field, ducking into a yoga class looks even more attractive. Yoga, it turns out, really does improve your mood more than walking.
The scientific case for yoga came out of a study helpfully titled; Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety and Brain GABA Levels. The study measured "GABA" levels in a yoga group, a walking group and a control group.
Without getting too deep into the science of yoga GABA do, GABA is the acronym for gamma-Aminobutyric acid, which plays a role in influencing neuron excitability. Neurons bang about our nervous system hoping to create a party, and GABA acts as a traffic cop, inhibiting too much excitement. High levels of GABA can result in a happier mood.
Brain scans of subjects were snapped before and after the yoga and walking sessions to measure the GABA levels, then compared with those of the control group. The study concluded that the yoga group reported greater improvement in mood and greater decreases in anxiety than the walkers.
Practitioners of yoga teach that ,over time, it changes the way a person moves, thinks, feels and behaves. As yoga practitioners focus awareness on each movement, each position flows into the next, creating a meditative, slow-moving dance. It’s this focus of energy that yoga is known for, and what the study says delivers on those GABA levels.
So why not try out a session or two?
Fortunately there’s a few choices in Norwalk to pick from.
1-3 Wall St.; (203) 838-2725
The Joint, as they refer to themselves, is all about moments and movements. They have a sense of humor, too, as their Web site states: “Sometimes we sweat. Sometimes we fall over. Often, we laugh out loud. We breathe in and out. Out and in.”
467 West Ave.; (203) 853-9642
This is the first Fairfield County Hot Yoga studio, which promotes a 26-posture regime in a heated room, hence “hot yoga.” The heat, according to their Web site, "facilitates deeper stretching, reduces the chance of injury, and stimulates the circulatory system.”
32-34 N. Main St.; (203) 854-6744
This second-floor studio offers a candlelit ambiance, with both Hata Yoga and Pilates offered.
For private instruction check out :
8 Parkhill Ave.; (203) 838-9644
Brian Buturla offers customized yoga in a one-on-one experience.
Each of the fitness clubs in the area also offer yoga classes:
- 490 Westport Ave.
- 542 Westport Ave.
- Calasanz, 507 Westport Ave
- , 370 West Ave.
- , 770 Connecticut Ave.