Yoga may ease symptoms of depression, study says

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For those that it helped, the more yoga sessions a person did each week, the less depressed they became, according to the analysis

"This is a great result to now encourage people who might be thinking about trying yoga that there's some scientific evidence that it can be effective for helping reduce depressive symptoms," said exercise physiologist and study author Jacinta Brinsley, a doctoral candidate at the University of South Australia.

Participants did an average of one to two weekly yoga sessions between 20 and 90 minutes long, in which at least half the session was physical movement. "The study's findings suggest that the more yoga you do, the better the effect. Although we don't know the exact 'dose' you need, those who did more yoga sessions per week had greater reductions in depressive symptoms," said Laurie Hyland Robertson, the editor in chief of Yoga Therapy Today, a journal published by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

But yoga is also a spiritual discipline, designed to meld body and mind. A yoga lifestyle incorporates physical postures, breath regulation and mindfulness through the practice of meditation. Much of the early research on yoga as therapy occurred in India, but today research has occurred around the world. Studies have explored the benefits of yoga therapy for anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


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