Yoga and Mental Illness
June 21, 2018
According to a national survey, 31 million U.S. adults (more than 13% of the population) have used yoga for health reasons. Two thousand years ago Patanjali, an Indian Sage (aka the “grandfather” of modern yoga), defined yoga as the “control of the fluctuations of the mind.” Below are some facts and clear mechanisms by which yoga might help with different mental symptoms prevalent in teens and young adults:
Clinical trials have shown that yoga actually can reduce symptoms of PTSD. Particularly, studies that recruited veterans and other people with traumatic experiences proved to be eye-opening. In this study, the observers randomly allocated the participants to yoga interventions lasting weeks to months. Additionally, there was a control group which was not treated at all or received rather unspecific health counseling. The results concluded that those participants who practiced yoga experienced a much stronger and clinically relevant reduction in their symptoms.
Fear and Anxiety
Yogic breathing is often seen as the main part of yoga when it comes to treating mental disorders. Although it remains unclear whether alternate nostril breathing alone can really ease mental suffering, yoga can help with trauma-related symptoms and anxiety through breathing exercises. For minor everyday anxiety, simple yogic breathing techniques might be worth a try as a self-care strategy.