Cuiyan Liu

Yoga May Help Treat Long-Term Depression More Than Meds

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Yoga is an amazing stress reliever, and many therapists prescribe it to their clients who suffer from anxiety.

But what about for treating depression?

Yep, it can help with that, too.

Marija Mandic

Aerobic exercise in general helps anxiety and depression by releasing happy hormones in the brain, but if the workout is really difficult, it can also release the stress hormone cortisol.

With yoga, you're taming stress responses in the brain with your breathing, focus and mindfulness.

There is actually a positive chemical response in your brain when you do yoga!

Learning how to be mindful and in the present moment is an amazing tool for fighting anxiety and depression.

In a recent study conducted by the Boston University Medical Center, people with major depressive disorder were put into two test groups.

One was asked to take a 90-minute Iyengar yoga class three times a week with home classes. The other group did a little less: two 90-minute classes a week with home classes.

Both groups noticed major improvements to their mood, and the group who practiced yoga the most had even better results.

Iyengar yoga focuses on alignment, breath and holding poses for extended periods of time. It's challenging for your body but also very calming.

There is no pressure to go further than what feels comfortable.

Something most people don't know — and is stated in this study — is that major depressive disorder has disabled more people than any other disease worldwide.

Many people who suffer major depression are prescribed pills. While meds can help in the short term, over time, people may still find themselves relapsing into depression.

These findings provide new hope that people who suffer major depression can feel significantly better over the long term by practicing yoga, and it may even be able to cut out prescription drugs.

This would be great news for a lot of people because then, the side effects that often come from using antidepressants could be avoided.

So if you're feeling down, try getting "downward dog" on that yoga mat!

It could make a world of difference.