Why More Psychiatrists Are Recommending Yoga

Posted: December 12, 2019

A recent study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice offered yet another piece of compelling evidence that yoga may be an effective treatment option for depressed patients (Scott, T). In the study, 30 participants were separated into two groups. One received three 90-minute yoga classes and four homework sessions per week, and the second received two 90-minute yoga classes and three homework sessions each week. The duration of the study was 12 weeks. Both groups showed promising results: an increase in feelings of positivity, a reduction in anxiety, improved sleep, and a decrease in depressive symptoms.

I have already shared some of my thoughts about the study here, and I believe that any tool at our disposal that may help fight depression and improve quality of life should be given serious consideration. But perhaps what I like most about this particular study is that participants taking antidepressants were required to have maintained a stable dose of their medication for at least three months prior to enrolling. This makes it difficult to attribute any positive results to a medication effect only.

I am a psychiatrist with a busy outpatient practice. I help patients overcome depression and anxiety, and I listen to stories of heartache, resiliency, and hope. I offer guidance, and sometimes medication. I also talk to patients about nutrition, the importance of moving their bodies, and finding joy in the journey of discovering true purpose.