Positive Benefits Yoga Has On Mental Illnesses

depressed man   



I was brainstorming ideas for my next blog post when one of my friends called me. Eagerly accepting any procrastination break, her and I chatted for a while and caught each other up on what had been happening in the past month or two in our lives. 


She started to tell me about an Aunt of hers, who had been depressed for while but was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What was most interesting about this series of events, my friend said, was the treatment that they had put her Aunt on- yoga.


Without even realizing it, my friend who had welcomed me with a distraction from my work had now provided me with my next article idea.


I asked her more about her Aunt and her treatments, and my friend replied that it was working wonderfully. This really began to interest me, because as any dedicated yogi will tell you, we firmly believe in the mental power that yoga can provide for you.


Outsiders however, might have a harder time believing that “taking a few deep breaths” and twisting your body like a pretzel could have any profound effects on your mental stability.


To hear that a hospital had adapted an entire program specifically formulated for treating patients with mental illnesses and depression was fascinating- and also great to hear!


I became curious to learn more, and spent a couple days researching how many programs, if any, use yoga as a method of recovery. To my surprise, I discovered that many facilities and researchers are devoting a lot of time towards discovering and proving the potential psychological benefits of yoga.


According to the American Psychological Association, “several recent studies suggest that yoga may help strengthen social attachments, reduce stress and relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia. Researchers are also starting to claim some success in using yoga and yoga-based treatments to help active-duty military and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.” https://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/11/yoga.aspx


The article goes on to say that because of the suggested evidence that yoga has been found to successfully help people on multiple different levels, clinicians are now beginning to incorporate yoga as a compliment to psychotherapy. 


doctors doing yoga


TIME Magazine ran a similar article discussing the question of whether or not yoga has the potential of reducing major psychiatric disorders. The information was fascinating, suggesting that yoga may have a similar affect to antidepressants on the body and has been adapted into many veterans’ centers to treat PTSD and reduce anxiety. http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/28/yoga-and-the-mind-can-yoga-reduce-symptoms-of-major-psychiatric-disorders/


The only studies that have so far been conducted have been on a fairly small scale- while the results look promising, no one can confidently confirm yet if yoga alone has the power to replace medications as a form of treatment for depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD.


Researchers however, have a positive outlook on the potential use of yoga as a low-cost alternative treatment for patients.


"The evidence is showing that yoga really helps change people at every level," says Stanford University health psychologist and yoga instructor Kelly McGonigal, PhD.


The benefits of yoga -mind, body and spirit- are amazing. 

What are you waiting for... have you practiced today? 





author Sky Andersen holds down the role of blog writer at Yoga Accessories. Currently studying Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University, she writes for many different publications and is passionate about all things photography, travel and of course- yoga.