Yoga for depression
If you have depression, you may already know of the different treatments available to support you. These usually include some form of talk therapy and/or antidepressants. A huge part of mental health management and support, however, is self-care and there’s increasing interest in other types of interventions.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in the US has been funding research to look into what non-pharmacological interventions that can help reduce symptoms of depression and have found some interesting results when looking at yoga.
A study from Boston University School of Medicine was published recently and found that people with depression will experience a significant reduction in symptoms if they go to yoga classes twice a week and engage in home practices.
In this study ‘Iyengar yoga’ was used (a type of yoga that emphasises the importance of alignment when practicing), however it is thought that all types will have positive psychological benefits.
The results from this are backed up from a previous study by the University of Pennsylvania which found ‘Sudarshan Kriya yoga’ (a breathing-based meditation practice) helped reduce major depressive symptoms in those who didn’t respond to antidepressants alone.
These findings are an important step forward in the way we think about the body-mind connection and how we approach mental health. It seems that more and more evidence is surfacing to confirm a holistic approach is best – whether looking at physical health problems or indeed mental health problems.
If you have been diagnosed with depression, what’s important is to find a treatment plan that suits you. For many people, it is multi-pronged, holistic approach that works well. This means talking therapy, looking after your physical self (eating well and exercising) and finding ways to relax and calm your mind with practices like yoga and meditation.
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