Fascinating Study Reveals The Effects of Yoga On Clinical Depression

A recent study found that yoga had a significant impact on patients with moderate depression. Here’s what researchers found – and how you can put the mood-boosting benefits of yoga to work in your life.

Depression is a major issue in today’s world, impacting roughly 15 million Americans every year. However, a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine found that regular yoga practice – combined with yogic breathing techniques – helped to significantly improve several markers for depression.

Here is a bit more information about this fascinating study:

In the study, 30 participants between 18 and 64-years-old with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) practiced yoga for 12 weeks and tracked changes in their mood. The study employed the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI), which is a self-inventory that ranks the severity of a patient’s depression. BDI scores 0-9 indicates minimal depression, 10-18 suggests mild depression, 19-29 signals moderate depression, and 30-63 warns of severe depression. All participants had a BDI score of at least 14 when beginning the study.

Participants in the study were divided into two groups. One group did three 90-minute group classes and four 30-minute home practice sessions per week, and the other group did two 90-minute classes and three 30-minute home practice sessions per week. Each yoga session consisted of common yoga poses such as sun salutations, standing poses and twists, backbends, and savasana, as well as 15-20 minutes of pranayama or yogic breathing techniques. At the end of the study, all participants experienced significant improvements in their depressive disorders.

The average BDI for the high-dose group at the beginning of the study was 24.6. By the end of the twelve weeks, the average BDI was 6. The results for the low-dose group were just as positive. The BDI dropped from a mean of 27.7 to 10.1. Though more people in the high-dose group ranked themselves with minimal depression (BDI 0-9), these findings suggest that even low doses of yoga can be an effective treatment for depression.

If you suffer from depression, you should consult a qualified therapist or medical practitioner. However, adding a regular yoga practice may help as well.

Here are 3 tips for reducing depression with yoga:

1.) Practice Regularly

The benefits of yoga reveal themselves through consistent practice over time. Commit to practicing at least three times a week.

2.) Find a Teacher

Home practices are a great way to fit yoga in with a busy schedule. But having a teacher can help you learn the often complicated philosophical components to yoga. A teacher can ensure that you are getting a well-rounded practice that will leave you feeling balanced and harmonized. Try to practice with a teacher at least once a week.

3.) Focus on Backbends and Inversions

The Iyengar Method identifies energizing postures such as backbends and inversions as effective relief for depression. Backbends and inversions don’t have to be advanced. You can get the same benefits from poses such as supported bridge pose, camel pose, and legs up the wall.

Read more at YogaBasics.com


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