Recently, a systematic review of 16 scientific studies was published on the effects of yoga on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems (Murali Doraiswamy et al., Frontiers in Psychiatry 2013).
What did they find?
This review found that a yoga program can improve biological factors related to mental health and have similar benefits as antidepressants and psychotherapy. Physiologically, yoga affects neurotransmitters, inflammation, oxidative stress, lipids, growth factors and second messengers, all of which influences mood and emotional well-being.
According to this study, other benefits of a regular yoga practice included 40% reduction in depression symptoms, improved sleep quality and reduced need for sleep aids.
The scientific evidence in support yoga practice on psychiatric disorders is “highly promising” and showed that yoga may not only help to improve symptoms, but also may have an ancillary role in the prevention of stress-related mental illnesses.
Kripalu’s Stephen Cope says “yoga postures improve mood by moving energy through places in the body where feelings of grief or anger are stored… it is an accessible form of self-soothing”
… and since depression is the biggest threat to the welfare of people with Parkinson’s disease (HERE and HERE and HERE), this makes yoga for Parkinson’s even more important (Yoga for Depression in Parkinson’s). much love.
**Note: The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) says people should not replace conventional medical care with yoga. Nor should people who practice yoga postpone seeing a health care provider. Patients should tell their doctor about any complementary health practices they use. Anyone with a medical condition should check with a health care provider before starting yoga.