Can yoga cure depression?

My sister is a “yogi” which is a slang term for a yoga fanatic. I always mocked her for going to yoga twice a week because I truly believed that it only affected ones flexibility. I could not understand how your mind set could affect yoga and how you would stretch in the class. I once went with her to a class to observe the other people in the class and they amazed me with how long they could hold each pose. Along with the poses, deep breathing was something that everyone did throughout the class and it seemed to help. Yoga is an activity that helps to relieve stress and clear your mind but many people don’t know that it is actually linked to a decrease in depression.


In a study that I discovered while researching this topic I found out the yoga can actually help with depression, anxiety and other diseases. The null hypothesis of this study was that yoga would have no affect on the depression of these patients. The alternative hypothesis was that the yoga would decrease the depression of the patients. The study included women who had gone to a yoga studio that had been recommended to them. Throughout this year the women were measured by their BDI. The BDI is the Beck Depression Inventory which categorizes different types of depression and helps to measure each kind by their severity. The study randomly assigned the women into experimental and control groups. There were 34 women in the experimental group and 31 women in the control group. The experimental group took an Ashtanga yoga class for 90 minutes twice a week. The control group was never assigned to a yoga class but were told they were on a wait list. After two months the scientists went back to gather data on the patient’s. Depression could be seen in 44.1% of the cases before the study took place and after the experiment it was only seen in 32.2%. The null hypothesis was rejected in this study, while the alternative hypothesis was accepted.

Stretching out their legs and backs

As a result of this study the depression of the patients was only slightly decreased but that could be because the experiment was held for only two months. As far as the experimental group, they were matched for similar backgrounds like gender, age, educational state and severity of depression. With depression, it takes longer to cure. Months or years of therapy will have the most effect on depression. Although this study did prove that yoga helps to decrease depression, there were some limitations. The sample sizes although the patients had similar backgrounds like gender, age and educational state, they were small and were only female. The male population for patients suffering from depression was not represented in this study. The outcome of this study may have been different if it were males instead of women because they may have gone into yoga with a different mind set.

Yoga is something that most people believe is a simple-minded activity but in reality it takes focus. Yoga can not fully cure depression but it can definitely help a patient start their treatment. In addition to trying yoga, here are some ways that you can help decrease your depression.

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