Every now and then news appears of the amazingly wonderful physical and mental benefits of practising yoga. Now, a study from Boston University has officially declared that yoga helps to ease depression…*deep breath
Modern life brings all kinds of stress with it, and although we have all the gadgets and technology that are supposed to make life easier, the answer to a stress-free life is all in the art of breathing.
According to TIME, the breakthrough study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, included 30 people from ages 18 to 64 with clinical depression, who either were not taking antidepressants or had been on a steady dose for at least three months. Half of the participants were assigned to take a 90-minute Iyengar yoga class three times per week, as well as four 30-minute sessions at home each week. People in the other group took two group classes and three at-home sessions every week. Iyengar yoga has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control, and includes up to 20 minutes of slow breathing exercises.
The study concluded that after three months, the majority of the people had lowered scores on their depression-screening questionnaire “by at least 50%”, reported TIME. Additionally, participants who took three class instead of two had even lower scores than those who took part in two weekly yoga sessions. According to the Yoga Journal, it’s recommended that we practice yoga three times per week for maximum de-stressing and mindfulness, but that one hour a week, or even fifteen minutes per day is a good start.
Lead author Dr. Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, is certain that practicing yoga is a good remedy for anyone suffering from depression or any mental health issues, and says that the practice has “far fewer side effects and potential drug interactions than mood-altering medications”. The most common complaint reported in the study was temporary muscle soreness and one participant experienced distressing thoughts while practising breathing exercises at home.
Dealing with any kind of illness is difficult and taxing, but perhaps it’s made even more-so due to stigma and lack of treatments available. But thanks to research like this we’re continuing to open the conversation and search further for safer, healthier, and long-term remedies for mental illness.
If you’re still not convinced that yoga is for you here’s the world’s oldest yoga instructor Tao Porchon-Lynch on what she has learned from a lifetime of yoga, and you can guarantee that she has more flexibility and zen than most millennials (sorry for using the ‘M’ word). Take two and watch the inspirational Tao below. If you think yoga might be for you, why not check out The Yoga Hub this weekend and try it out for yourself.