Hatha yoga, a gentle, introductory form of basic yoga that promotes relaxation, showed, over time, to ease symptoms of major depression after patients engaged in a practice for about three to six months, a new study says.
The research team randomly split volunteers who were taking antidepressants into two groups: half started taking hatha yoga and half participated in health education classes. Each group was active in their practice for a minimum of 10 weeks but was monitored for six months afterward.
“The purpose of this study was to examine whether hatha yoga is effective for treating depression when used in addition to antidepressant medication, said Dr. Lisa Uebelacker, an associate professor of psychiatry at Brown University. “We did not see statistically significant differences between hatha yoga and a control group (health education class) at 10 weeks, however…three and six months after yoga classes ended, we found yoga was superior in alleviating depression symptoms.”
Researchers of the study are optimistic that yoga class participants would experience less severe depression symptoms over time and also show better social coping skills, an overall better perception of their health and feel less physical pain as well.