A recent study presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association finds that yoga could be an effective remedy for the symptoms of depression. According to reports, the researchers who conducted the study discovered that yoga can be used as a complement to the traditional therapies by individuals who are suffering from depression. It is reported that this is because the practice is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.
“Yoga has become increasingly popular in the West, and many new yoga practitioners cite stress-reduction and other mental health concerns as their primary reason for practicing. But the empirical research on yoga lags behind its popularity as a first-line approach to mental health,” chairman of a session highlighting research on yoga and depression, Lindsey Hopkins, Ph.D., of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center said.
It is reported by Science Daily that the new study that was conducted on 23 male veterans who participated in yoga classes twice-weekly for eight weeks, focused on the acceptability and antidepressant effects of hatha yoga – a type of yoga that involves physical exercises. It also has to do with meditative and breathing exercises for a better well-being.
According to Eurekalert, the researchers found that on a scale of 1-10, one being the lowest, the average enjoyment rating in the yoga classes for the study participants was 9.4. In addition, all the participants involved in the study reported that they would recommend the program to friends and family.
Furthermore, the researchers noted that there was a significant reduction in the depression symptoms of participants who had elevated depression scores prior to the yoga program. The results were evaluated after eight weeks of the program.
It is reported that Sarah Shallit, MA, of Alliant University in San Francisco also investigated into another type of hatha yoga known as Bikram yoga. The study involved 52 women, who were between the age of 25 and 45. The study authors divided the participant’s into two groups one of which was assigned to participate in yoga classes twice-weekly for eight weeks.
The second group was informed that they were wait-listed. After that, the researchers tested the depression levels of all the study participants at the beginning of the study, and also at weeks three, six and nine.
Maren Nyer, Ph.D., and Maya Nauphal, BA, of Massachusetts General Hospital also presented data in the same session from a study conducted on 29 adults who participated in a Bikram yoga program at least twice-weekly for eight weeks. The researchers discovered a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression and also an improvement in other measures including quality of life, optimism, and cognitive and physical functioning.