Changing the conversation about health

New study finds regular yoga sessions have positive impact on mental health disorders

Practicing yoga on a regular basis can help alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders, according to new research.

The World Health Organisation says around 264 million people suffer from depression globally.

The international research, led by Jacinta Brinsley, from the University of South Australia, found that yoga moderately reduced symptoms of many depressive disorders

The study’s lead author Jacinta Brinsley, from the University of South Australia, led an international team of researchers in analysing 13 studies that examined the impact of yoga, involving 632 participants collectively.

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study analysis found that people with depression – and other mental health disorders – reported an improvement in symptoms when regularly taking part in yoga sessions.

Heather Mason is founder of The Minded Institute,
which uses yoga therapies to improve mental and
physical well-being

Founder of The Minded Institute, Heather Mason, a regular contributor to The College of Medicine, told the Telegraph that yoga should be elevated by the NHS and available on clinical prescription.

It is currently only available when ‘socially prescribed’ by GPs and link workers.

Mason said: “There is a growing recognition that this is something that needs to happen”

“I would like to see an initiative where people are prescribed into yoga classes which are bespoke for mental health issues, including depression.

“In countries where there has been integration, like Sweden, it has been shown to be beneficial.”

The Minded Institute uses yoga therapies for improving physical and mental health conditions.

Researchers analysed the effects of yoga on mental health disorders including depression, psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, panic disorders and substance addiction amongst others.

The research looked at participants’ mental health who were doing a weekly session of yoga, lasting between 20 and 90 minutes. Researchers said the research showed symptoms of depression were moderately reduced in those participants.

The positive impact was increased when more sessions were undertaken.

The research team behind the study wrote: “Consideration of yoga as an evidence based exercise modality alongside conventional forms of exercise is warranted, given the positive results of this review.”