Yoga does the body good, and according to a new study, it may ease the mind as well.
Their findings suggest that yoga does in fact have positive effects on mild depression
and sleep problems, and it improves the symptoms of psychiatric disorders like
schizophrenia and ADHD among patients using medication.
The researchers focused on 16 studies that recorded the effects of practicing yoga on
mental-health issues ranging from depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints
and eating disorders to cognitive problems. They found positive effects of the
mind-and-body practice for all conditions with the exception of eating disorders and
cognition. Those studies involved too few participants or produced conflicting results
to draw any meaningful conclusions.
Some of the studies included in the analysis even suggested that yoga might affect
the body in ways similar to antidepressants and psychotherapy. For instance, yoga
may influence brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters (boosting levels of
feel-good agents like serotonin), lower inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and
produce a healthier balance of lipids and growth factors — just as other forms of