Review of Yoga's Efficacy for Mental Disorders

A German review paper on the efficacy of yoga for mental disorders.

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There is a growing body of evidence to suggest yoga’s efficacy for a range of clinical mental disorders. It would take a pleasing age to trail through all the recent research, which is why a review paper such as the German-based one linked here can be such a find!

All studies in which the efficacy of hatha-yoga, i.e., body-oriented yoga with asanas and pranayama, was studied in adult patients suffering from a mental disorder (as diagnosed by a psychiatric professional) were included in the analysis. 25 studies with a total of 1339 patients were included in the analysis, a number providing a comfortable sense of confidence in the findings. In total, studies from nine different countries were evaluated that had been published between 1997 and 2014. In the majority of studies, the yoga sessions were directed by a fully qualified yoga teacher.

The comparison of yoga intervention groups and untreated control groups found medium-sized significant effects in favour of yoga for primary and secondary outcomes. Compared with exercise and attention control group, yoga was found to have small, significant effects. Researchers concluded that the findings of this systematic review are comparable to those of existing meta-analyses, most of which have reported moderate to large positive effects of yoga in disorder-specific symptoms. Certainly something to smile about this morning :)

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS