New study: yoga helps symptoms of depression


A new study out of Boston University Medical Center found that yoga can be a beneficial supplement or alternative to prescription medications for major depressive disorder. If you practice yoga, you probably already know this, right?!! But it's great to be backed up by a scientific study!

The study used Iyengar yoga for the study (my personal fave...yay!), as well as ujjayi breathing (it's sometimes called "Darth Vader breath", or "ocean breath"). Here is a great tutorial for ujjayi.

So, here's the study in a nutshell...Two groups were studied for 12 weeks, a high-dose group (3 90-min. classes a week plus 4 30-min home practice sessions) and a low-dose group (2 90-min. classes a week plus 3 30-min home practice sessions). The study found that yoga and breathing practices showed a significant reduction in symptoms in both groups...with the high-dose group showing slightly better results.

If you have major depressive disorder, or are feeling depressed, speak with your doctor about integrating a yoga practice into your life. Science shows, it will make a difference!

Journal reference (click the link to read the study in all it's scientific glory):

  1. Chris C. Streeter, Patricia L. Gerbarg, Theodore H. Whitfield, Liz Owen, Jennifer Johnston, Marisa M. Silveri, Marysia Gensler, Carol L. Faulkner, Cathy Mann, Mary Wixted, Anne Marie Hernon, Maren B. Nyer, E. Richard P. Brown, John E. Jensen. Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Iyengar Yoga and Coherent Breathing: A Randomized Controlled Dosing Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2017; DOI: 10.1089/acm.2016.0140