Good news for those of us who have been taking our Yoga bags down to the gym frequently, as new research suggests that Yoga can be effective in treating stress-related illnesses.

According to a study by researchers in the US, the stretching exercises can help tackle psychological and medical conditions exacerbated by stress, such as depression, high blood pressure, anxiety and heart disease.

Lead author Chris Streeter of Boston Medical Center commented: "Western and Eastern medicine complement one another. Yoga is known to improve stress-related nervous system imbalances.

"This paper provides a theory, based on neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, to understand how Yoga helps patients feel better by relieving symptoms in many common disorders."

The researchers put forward the theory that stress results in an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and under-activity in an inhibitory neurotransmitter known as GABA.

They found that stress-related conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, chronic pain and depression, are associated with low activity levels of GABA, which could explain why vagal nerve stimulation therapy in the brain helps reduce the symptoms of depression.

Meanwhile, it seems A-listers Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow are planning to pack up their own Yoga equipment and head off to Tuscany for a luxury Yoga-based break.

According to reports, the celebrities will be taking their children - Beyonce’s eight-week-old daughter Blue Ivy and Gwyneth’s seven-year-old daughter Apple and Moses, five, as well as respective husbands Jay-Z and Chris Martin.

The Sun quotes a source as saying: ’’They’re planning daily Yoga sessions at the private five-star villa, which has its own pool.

’’Beyonce has also been taking her daughter Blue Ivy to baby Yoga classes after Gwyneth recommended it, so they will spend some of the holiday doing that, and the pair will get stuck into a menu of Gwyneth’s favourite organic grub while they are away.’’

Posted by Freya Harper