Around 16 million people suffer with depression in the US. Depression can be caused by a plethora of things, and everyone copes with symptoms differently. Therapy and medication are usually the first solutions to be offered, but what if they don’t work? Not everyone finds solace in talking it out with a stranger and medication affects everyone differently. So, what else can sufferers do? Apparently, the answer lies on our yoga mats.
Hatha yoga, the most commonly practiced type, includes gentle and slow moving poses which are held for prolonged periods. Poses include: the cobra, the tree and downward facing dog. Sounds familiar, right? New research has recently come out that this form of yoga can improve depression symptoms by at least 50%.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine analyzed around 100 participants who suffered with depression and were all taking anti-depressant medicine. The group was split into two, one half attended a healthy living workshop and the other went to a yoga class once a week.
After 10 weeks, the team at Butler Hospital, Rhode Island, did not notice any dramatic changes in the symptoms of those taking yoga classes. “We did not see statistically significant difference between hatha yoga and a control group at 10 weeks,” said Dr Lisa Uebelacker, the study leader.
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The study continued and after six months 51% of yoga patients reported a minimum of 50% improvement in their symptoms. This compared to the 31% improvement of those taking the workshop. Awesome, right?
“We hypothesized that yoga participants would show lower depression severity over time, as well as better social and role functioning, better general health perceptions and physical functioning, and less physical pain relative to the control group.” Said Dr Uebelacker.
Yoga doesn’t only help those who are suffering with mental health issues, it has a whole host of health and fitness benefits for everyone. Here are just a few:
• Improved flexibility
• Protection from injury
• Metabolism maintenance
• Drops blood pressure
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