There are many studies which prove that yoga is beneficial not only for your physical health but also for your mental health. One particular study from Boston University confirmed that taking yoga classes twice a week alleviates depression symptoms because of deep breathing exercises.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published the results of a study which included 30 participants ages 18- 64 diagnosed with clinical depression. Some of them didn’t take medicines and some were under therapy for at least three months. Half of the patients were going on yoga classes three times a week and also had four 30-minute sessions at home each week. The other group participated in two group classes and three sessions at home every week.
Iyengar yoga classes are especially useful in practicing the right posture and controlled breathing. The classes that participants took during the study included 20 minutes of slow breathing. They did five inhale-exhales through the nose per minute exercises.
After three months approximately, majority of the participants from the both groups reduced the symptoms of depression by at least 50%. The results also showed that those who had more yoga classes had better results than the others.
But many of the participants claimed that it was difficult to attend so many classes so the experts recommended two classes per week in order to experience the benefits.
This is really good news for people who suffer from depression. The associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Chris Streeter claims that yoga has no side-effects unlike some medicines for depression. You can only get muscle soreness and one participant complained that he had some upsetting thoughts while he was practicing breathing at home.
There are people who didn’t feel better with the common treatments but yoga exercises did help as unlike the antidepressants, yoga and deep breathing exercises affect the autonomic nervous system. Streeter claims:”If your autonomic nervous system is balanced out, then the rest of the brain works better,”. She also claims that even 40% of people who take antidepressants never fully defeat depression so the disease is likely to return. She also adds: “Getting that 40% all the way better is a really important goal. Instead of adding another drug, I would argue that yoga is another thing you can add to the treatment regimen that might help.”
Experts need to do more studies on how yoga helps in the fight against depression. While Iyengar yoga is proven to be beneficial for everybody, there are also other types of yoga which are also useful. So, Streeter claims: “It depends on who the person is and what they’re looking for,”. Consequently you can choose the yoga style which you find the most beneficial for you.