Yoga Could Help with Mild Mental Health Issues

02/15/2013

Ever notice how yoga lovers always seem so inherently calm? Now we may know why. Experts say yoga may be able to boost mental health.

A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry reviewed more than 100 studies about the effect of yoga on depression and other related conditions.

Photo Credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS
Photo Credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS

The study found that yoga can improve mental health for those suffering from a range of issues including depression, schizophrenia, ADHD and sleep conditions. So much that these patients practicing yoga may even be able to replace their medications with this exercise. Though the only conditions supported by conclusive evidence were mild depression and sleeping issues, other conditions were considered improved by the practice of yoga. Still, scientists did not recommend going off medication, only supplementing chemical treatment with the physical exercise.

Medication in the U.S.

Twenty-five percent of people in the U.S. use sleep medications to get through the night and another 11 percent of the American population are on antidepressants.

This is nothing to take lightly – and perhaps given this information some people could make real changes. Experts said that yoga offers people a calming sensation and lessens feelings of anxiety. One study found that it was an excellent source of calm for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Change Up Your Routine

If you’re someone who suffers from mild depression or anxiety, has trouble sleeping or just wants to break out of their usual routine – give yoga a try. It’s a great idea to incorporate a mental component to all of your workouts, whether it be increasing your number of reps, trying to run longer or faster when hitting the pavement or, in the case of yoga, learning challenging breathing techniques that can be used throughout your day.

Most importantly, seize any opportunity to cut out additional drugs and chemicals in your diet. You may not have a choice, but if there’s even a possibility that there’s a natural way to sleep and feel better, it seems worth it to give it a shot.

By: Jennifer Wolfe

For More on Mental Health:

Healing with Yoga

10 Celebs with Mental Health Disorders

Keep Up with Your 'Mental Fitness'


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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