If you’re dealing with depression, anxiety or another mood disorder, yoga can be an appealing way to better manage your symptoms. Scientific studies of yoga demonstrate that yoga therapy is a low-risk, high-yield approach to improving mental health. One of these studies found that after three months of yoga, study participants reported their depression improved by 50%, their anxiety improved by 30%, and their overall well-being improved by 65%. Other studies of individuals with bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia also reported a significant drop in levels of anxiety, depression, anger, tension, hostility and fatigue.
Yoga and Depression
Some studies have shown that controlled breathing, which is an integral part of most types of yoga, provides relief for depression. One study found that levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and corticotropin, dropped in patients immediately after practicing yoga and that yoga can be a beneficial treatment for depression in the early stages of recovery from alcoholism.
Yoga and Anxiety
Yoga is a great way to calm symptoms of anxiety because it reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and eases respiration. One study found that practicing yoga may elevate levels of gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) in the brain, which positively affects a person’s ability to handle stress.
Yoga and PTSD
Some evidence suggests that yoga can help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A study out of Australia found that Vietnam veterans diagnosed with severe PTSD and who were heavy daily drinkers taking at least one antidepressant experienced less severe PTSD symptoms after six weeks of practicing yoga and controlled breathing. Nearly 20% of war veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, and researchers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., are encouraging veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to practice yoga and deep relaxation to alleviate symptoms. Of course, yoga isn’t just beneficial for PTSD caused by war; it’s beneficial for all types of trauma.
Yoga and Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar medications are very good at taking care of mania, but they aren’t as effective at managing anxiety and depression. Similarly, medications used for anxiety and depression pose a risk of triggering mania. Adding yoga as a complementary treatment for bipolar disorder can help people better manage their symptoms and possibly reduce the amount of medications they need to take. Yoga helps bipolar patients reduce feelings of depression, anger and anxiety and calm their emotions.
Yoga and Dual Diagnosis
It’s very common for people with a mood or mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or bipolar disorder to use drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. Yoga is a great way for people with a dual diagnosis to overcome their substance abuse problem and alleviate their mood/mental disorder symptoms. In addition to the mental benefits of yoga, yoga also helps people in addiction recovery programs to detoxify their body, enhance physical and mental stamina, increase self-awareness, and reconnect with their inner spirituality.
Yoga Therapy at Casa Palmera
Our bodies and minds hold on to the past, creating blockages in energy flow that can aggravate existing emotional and mental issues or lead to new ones. Regular, long-term practice of yoga therapy can be a powerful tool for emotional healing and maintaining mental and physical health by releasing these blockages and relieving stress.
Yoga is not a cure for mood and mental disorders, but it helps alleviate the symptoms and is a great complement to traditional mental health treatments. If you’re suffering from a mental health disorder and would like more information on holistic forms of treatment like yoga, Call Casa Palmera today.