Combat depression with yoga, scientists urge

Could yoga combat depression?New research has found that yoga could be used to combat mild depression, sleep problems and other mental health problems, including ADHD and schizophrenia.

Researchers reviewed more than 100 published studies investigating the impact of yoga on certain mental health conditions.

Dr P. Murali Doraiswamy, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, said: “If the promise of yoga on mental health was found in a drug, it would be the best selling medication worldwide.”

He believes findings from the report, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Psychology’, shows a ‘highly promising’ outlook for a future in which yoga could play an important role in improving the nation’s mental well-being.

Chartered psychologist Dr Kate Sparks says she can see how yoga might benefit mental well-being.

Firstly, yoga encourages deep breathing, which boosts the oxygen flow around the body and stimulates the brain, leading to an increase in energy and a feeling of wakefulness which could stave off low moods.

Secondly, holding difficult postures directs attention away from invading thoughts and external stimuli, potentially calming the mind and alleviating stress.

Dr Sparks believes that although yoga might be an effective stress-buster, it cannot always work for everybody. You must be able to focus your mind and pay attention to your body and breathing to reap any significant psychological benefits from yoga.

To find out more about yoga and to contact a yoga practitioner near you, please visit our page about Yoga.

View and comment on the original The British Psychological Society article.

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Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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