Yoga For Depression

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The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older – that is over 18% of the population.  Globally, the World Health Organization reports that 1 in 13 suffers from anxiety.  In terms of material well-being, we live in an age that fosters the most comfortable society in human history; yet it’s clear that mental well-being has not followed.  The wise among us say that this is because as a global community, we have focused all of our attention on external factors and comparatively little attention on internal wellness.

Far from just benefiting physical health, Yoga is a science for inner well-being.  So not surprisingly, more evidence is surfacing that yoga is a boon for mental health disorders.  The latest study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, followed 30 participants between the ages of 18 and 64 with clinical depression.  Half of the group took a 90-minute Iyengar yoga (alignment / precise postures / controlled breathing) class three times a week, as well as four 30-minute sessions at home.  The other half took two group classes and three at-home sessions.  After 3 months, most of the 30 participants lowered their scores on depression screening questionnaires by at least 50%.  Also, the scores for the first group was lower than the second group.  Dr. Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, states: “the practice has far fewer side effects and potential drug interactions than mood-altering medications.”

The medical community offers various theories as to why yoga benefits those suffering from anxiety and depression.  One such theory is yoga’s balancing impact on the autonomic nervous system.  If the system is well balanced, then the brain works on a more solid foundation.  Another postulation is that yoga brings resiliency to the body’s stress response, therefore reducing the triggers for anxiety and depression.  As always, there is a call for more research by medical practitioners, but in the meantime the existing proven evidence is compelling and already a call to action for sufferers and care givers.

Yoga has many facets, each of which bring a different set of benefits.  So to treat anxiety and depression, certain practices and poses will be more effective.  There are any number of resources available on-line or in person which prescribe these specifically.  It’s also i

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older – that is over 18% of the population.  Globally, the World Health Organization reports that 1 in 13 suffers from anxiety.  In terms of material well-being, we live in an age that fosters the most comfortable society in human history; yet it’s clear that mental well-being has not followed.  The wise among us say that this is because as a global community, we have focused all of our attention on external factors and comparatively little attention on internal wellness.

Far from just benefiting physical health, Yoga is a science for inner well-being.  So not surprisingly, more evidence is surfacing that yoga is a boon for mental health disorders.  The latest study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, followed 30 participants between the ages of 18 and 64 with clinical depression.  Half of the group took a 90-minute Iyengar yoga (alignment / precise postures / controlled breathing) class three times a week, as well as four 30-minute sessions at home.  The other half took two group classes and three at-home sessions.  After 3 months, most of the 30 participants lowered their scores on depression screening questionnaires by at least 50%.  Also, the scores for the first group was lower than the second group.  Dr. Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, states: “the practice has far fewer side effects and potential drug interactions than mood-altering medications.”

The medical community offers various theories as to why yoga benefits those suffering from anxiety and depression.  One such theory is yoga’s balancing impact on the autonomic nervous system.  If the system is well balanced, then the brain works on a more solid foundation.  Another postulation is that yoga brings resiliency to the body’s stress response, therefore reducing the triggers for anxiety and depression.  As always, there is a call for more research by medical practitioners, but in the meantime the existing proven evidence is compelling and already a call to action for sufferers and care givers.

Yoga has many facets, each of which bring a different set of benefits.  So to treat anxiety and depression, certain practices and poses will be more effective.  There are any number of resources available on-line or in person which prescribe these specifically.  It’s also important to remember that yoga can be approached as a supplementary remedy, and medical intervention and advice should be sought for serious or chronic anxiety and depression disorders. It’s also important to remember that yoga can be approached as a supplementary remedy, and medical intervention and advice should be sought for serious or chronic anxiety and depression disorders.

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