How Does Yoga Help People Who Are Depressed?

One of the most common mental health illnesses around the world is depression. There are 350 million people all around the world who are afflicted with one or two forms of depression. In contrast, there are 16 million episodes of depression in the United States alone. Depression affects an individual’s mood and behavior significantly changing their life at a mass level. According to WHO, depression is a major contributor to diseases worldwide and is also a leading cause of disabilities. 

According to NIMH , depression is a prevalent illness due to many factors be it psychological, biological, or environmental. Treating depression through various techniques is also being researched at a massive rate. Currently, research is being conducted on the benefits of yoga in reducing depression. Multiple studies have suggested it to be an effective treatment. Therefore, yoga reduces depression which is being used as an alternative and complementary treatment that implements mind-body practices.

How Yoga Reduces Depression and Improves Overall Health?

There are multiple benefits of yoga on the mental and physical health of an individual. For instance, it is effective in

  • Reducing aches and pains
  • Loosening muscles
  • Improving flexibility
  • Generating balanced energy
  • Reducing fast breathing
  • Lowering heart rate
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing stress hormone
  • Increasing blood flow
  • Diminishing stress and anxiety
  • Increasing calmness

It is also effective in treating arthritis, cancer, and mental illnesses. Yoga has proved to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderADHD as well. It is a type of meditative therapy that has also been effective in letting individuals come out of depression. Yoga reduces depression and is effective in enhancing the mood in terms of physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The breathing practices in yoga ensure to introduce calmness, wellbeing, and stress tolerance. It also enhances the capability to focus which reduces the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Yoga reduces depression by using gentle physical poses that increase strength, flexibility, and balance. These slow movements make sure to act as an anti-depressant and as an anxiolytic effect. Yoga also improves the perception of stress and depression of individuals practicing yoga and increases their ability to deal with depressive episodes.

A study in 2019 stated that yoga is an effective treatment for clinical depression. The participants in the study had improved sleeping patterns due to yoga. They had a boost in positivity, whereas exhaustion, anxiety, and depression reduced. 

Reduced Depression in Women 

There are many women all around the world facing depression. It is either due to being home at all times, stringent working environments, or hormonal changes. A study in 2016 examined how yoga reduces depression in women who performed yoga or who walked regularly. The findings revealed that even though walking can reduce depressive symptoms, yoga reduced the symptoms of depression and anxiety at a greater rate. The women who practiced yoga had decreased levels of rumination (that leads to depression). 

Pregnant Women 

Women who are pregnant can face depression due to the changes in their hormones. Additionally, there are high risk pregnant mothers who are prescribed bed rest. Such circumstances can lead to depression as these women are socially isolated, have no activity, and are bored. These stressors are just some of those that women may experience.

Depression can be treated through yoga for expectant mothers. Some yoga poses are effective in reducing depression in women at bed rest. 

Helps Reduce Depression in Addicts 

Depression and anxiety are those common symptoms that individuals face when they enter a rehabilitation center. The depressive symptoms lead individuals to opt for alcohol, drug, and addiction. On the other hand, multiple studies suggest that yoga can reduce depression and is being used as a meditative technique in rehabilitation centers. 

A study in 2011 found that yoga significantly reduced anxiety and stress in individuals who performed yoga regularly for 60 minutes. The nervous system of those individuals calmed down, and various hormones were regulated. 

Improves Mood

Yoga is a natural way to alleviate the mood by increasing the production of serotonin. Serotonin production is very essential when fighting depression.

Yoga generally improves mood because of its gentle and calming nature. The poses in yoga are flexible which allow all individuals to practice it at their pace and their level. Yoga courses for depression emphasize individuals’ focus on their breathing which ultimately increases concentration.

Which Yoga Poses are the Most Beneficial for Depression? 

Hatha Yoga 

A study was conducted by Linsey Hopkins in 2020 on treating depression through yoga poses. It concluded that individuals having high scores of depression showed significant reduction after eight weeks of hatha yoga. Additionally, individuals practicing hatha yoga enjoyed it. 

Hatha yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on the breathing of the individual along with yoga postures. It makes sure that oxygen reaches even the tiniest fiber in the muscle so that the body does not go in an anaerobic reaction. Hatha yoga courses for depression are generally 45 to 95 minutes long.

Bikram Yoga 

A study was conducted by an Alliant International University in San Francisco which introduced Bikram yoga to reduce depression. Individuals who were depressed tried eight weeks of Bikram yoga and showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression. 

Bikram yoga is a type that consists of 26 yoga postures. It is a type that is performed at high temperatures to increase the chances of targeting all muscles in the body. Yoga also allows to relax all the fibers in muscles while increasing strength.  


Although yoga is practiced all around the world for several decades, many benefits of the practice have been discovered. Nevertheless, it is an alternative meditative technique to reduce the symptoms of depression and its episodes. There are programs all around the world which are giving yoga courses on how yoga reduces depression. Individuals can opt for them and enjoy the immense benefits through yoga courses. They can overcome depression and its associated challenges as proved by the above-mentioned theories. 


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