Young woman practicing yoga outdoor in the nature

How yoga impacts depression

Almost everyone is into yoga these days. With so many benefits associated, it’s no wonder that this ancient practice has gained popularity.

Yoga is known to help people manage depression and a previous study reported here shows that breath-based yoga techniques such as Kriya can help people who are not responding to depression medication.

The goal of any treatment for depression is to help the individual achieve full recovery and normal functioning. Many patients will respond well to rational treatment methods such as medication or psychotherapy but some may not recover fully even with these treatments.

Researchers once again looked to yoga, specifically hatha yoga as a treatment option but this time they wanted to examine how effective hatha yoga is for treating depression when used in addition to medication. Previous research has already shown that Hatha yoga and breathing exercises help people with depression.

The researchers found that the hatha yoga group showed lower levels of depression than the health education group.

The researchers conducted a randomized blind trial of weekly yoga classes vs health education classes in individuals who were highly depressive and  took antidepressant medication. The heath education classes served as the attention-control group. The study last 10 weeks with follow-up assessments after three months and then again at six months.

Depression symptom severity was assessed by a blind rater at 10 weeks and did not show any significant differences between the hatha yoga group and the control group.

However secondary outcomes which included depression symptoms, social and role functioning, general heath perception, pain and physical functioning, were tested in the follow-up period. The researchers found that the hatha yoga group showed lower levels of depression than the health education group.

Yoga participants showed better social and role functioning and general health perceptions over time, including less physical pain.

With this research, we know that yoga does have a significant impact on depression symptoms over the long run. Starting a yoga practice even if you are on medication, will be extremely beneficial in alleviating the symptoms with other added benefits for your health and wellbeing.

Source: Psychological Medicine

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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