Yoga is a remedy for your mental health

Jul 21, 2023

Research shows that yoga is uniquely powerful: the more you do, the better you feel.

Although yoga has a reputation for being physically challenging and mentally rejuvenating, its unparalleled ability to alleviate mental issues is not well understood.

To shed light on this, we’re dusting off a 2019 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine confirms that movement-based yoga improves a range of mental health conditions, including depression, generalized anxiety, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and much more. Lead researcher Jacinta Brinsley told Medical Xpress that the findings are ‘very good news for people struggling in uncertain times.’

And now, it’s definitely qualifying as uncertain times.

All studied yoga practices included a mix of movement, breathwork, and/or mindfulness, but the movement component made up at least 50 percent of the session. However, it’s thought that the blend of these modalities — not found in many other activities — gives yoga its therapeutic power.

Another finding: the more weekly sessions completed, the greater the effect on alleviating depression symptoms.

Maybe the most encouraging news from this study is that it doesn’t matter what style of yoga you practice – just that you practice,’ adds a New York-based yoga teacher. ‘Whether you like to link breath with movement and flow smoothly from pose to pose, or you prefer to focus on alignment, strength, mental and emotional benefits will be there for you.’

According to Harvard Health, existing research also suggests that yoga can reduce the impact of stress and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression — with or without diagnosed mental illness. Yoga is thought to do this by modulating our stress response systems, shifting us from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest responses. Best of all, yoga is a (largely) inclusive form of exercise that requires no equipment and can be done at home or in a class.

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