Yoga for Anxiety, Depression, & Neurological Disorders – A Research Review

Yogic Breathing Instruction in Patients with Treatment-Resistant Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Pilot Study.

This study looked at the efficacy of using yogic breathing techniques in patients with treatment-resistant generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in a mental health services setting. 9 participating patients received yoga breathing training and practice for 12 weeks, in addition to their regular treatment. Assessments occurred before, after weeks 1, 2, and 6, and at the end. The 9 patients started out with moderate to severe anxiety symptoms and mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Their symptom severity reduced significantly over the 12 weeks, with some reporting that they were able to return to work. Of note, some reported initial skepticism about the effectiveness of using the breath for anxiety but persevered through the practice with benefits.

This research article does not include the breathing techniques that were used to work with anxiety. In LifeForce Yoga we first suggest burning off some of the energy with practices like movement, exercise, bouncing, Breath of Joy, etc. Once the mood has been met, we are more able to practice the techniques that work well. These practices include, exhaling longer than inhaling, mantra, Alternate Nostril with an emphasis on Left Nostril Breathing, Bee Breath, and yoga nidra. We have a two-part webinar series devoted to managing anxiety: Stress Busters!

Read the full study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329222/

Feasibility of a group-based laughter yoga intervention as an adjunctive treatment for residual symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress in people with depression.

Laughter Yoga is a group-based practice that includes laughing (pretending to laugh), gentle stretching, rhythmic breathing, and meditation. This study aimed to look at the efficacy of Laughter Yoga for improving the mood, anxiety and stress symptoms in adults diagnosed with depression. 50 participants were randomized into a Laughter Yoga group (23) of eight sessions over four weeks, or a treatment as usual group (27). Assessments were taken at baseline, completion and at three months follow-up. The Laughter Yoga group had a statically greater decrease in depression and improvements in mental health compared to the control group.

Read the abstract here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30711868

Evidence based effects of yoga in neurological disorders.

This study was a review of all relevant research on yoga and neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy, dementia, etc. Of 700 articles published from 1963 to December 2016, 94 were included in the review. The researchers concluded that yoga could be considered an effective complementary treatment for people suffering from neurological disorders.

Many neurological disorders have a side effect of stress, anxiety, and/or depression. While yoga does not heal mood or neurological issues, a lot of the LifeForce Yoga practices can support the individual who is suffering. A practice like Alternate Nostril, Nādī Shodana, is excellent for balancing the mood and the energy and has no side effects.

Read the abstract here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28599839

About the Author

Rose Kress

Rose Kress ERYT-500, C-IATY, YACEP, Director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, which trains yoga and health professionals internationally. She is the author of two CDs, edits the research newsletter, and directs the training programs for LifeForce Yoga.

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our Research Newsletter

Cart

What People Say

“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“This workshop helped me rededicate my energies and begin to work through some of the blocks I’ve felt creatively.” — Steve Mark, college professor, New Haven, CT
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
“I utilize the LFY techniques in both a class room setting and one-on-one environment. The skills have infused my teachings with compassion, mindfulness, and awareness.” — Kat Larsen, CYT, LFYP
“Giving my clients a strategy and permission to quiet their minds and rebalance the sympathetic nervous system has been very beneficial to them and in our work together.” — Sue Dilsworth, PhD, RYT 200, LFYP, Allendale, MI
“Yoga Skills for Therapists is the ideal resource for those who want to bring yoga practices into psychotherapy or healthcare. Weintraub, a leader in the field of yoga therapy, offers evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, improving mood, and relieving suffering. Helpful clinical insights and case examples emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.” — Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author, Yoga for Pain Relief, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
“I have gained a softer heart, more receptive mind, and tools to enrich both personal and professional aspects of my life.” – Regina Trailweaver, LICSW, clinical social worker, Hancock, VT.
“This workshop has changed so much — my self-image and my life. My own heart’s desire is 100% clear. I gained tools to help myself and others to live life fully.” — Marcia Siegel, Yoga teacher, therapist, Carlsbad, CA.
“I began a fantasy during the meditation exercise... almost as if I’d been there. It’s now an on-going work of fiction.” — Serian Strauss, Tanzania
“I have gained an incredible opening and clearing of old obstructions. I hope to return to my life and fill this opening with things I love to do and that give me joy!” — Lisa Shine, administrative assistant, Ballston Lake, NY
“I learned lots of ways to reduce the anxiety and depression of my patients and myself.” – Aviva Sinvany-Nubel, PhD, APN, CNSC, RN, psychotherapist, Bridgewater, N.J.
“My life is already changed! I will use the tools I learned in my own practice and in my work. I feel safe and seen.” — Susan Andrea Weiner, MA, teacher/expressive arts facilitator, El Cerrito, CA.
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
“I have found the pranayama (breathing practices) especially easy to introduce in a clinical setting. Some people have benefited quickly in unexpected and transformative ways.” — Liz Brenner, LICSW, LFYP, Watertown, MA
“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“I came hoping to learn to move past some of the obstacles blocking my creativity. Over the course of this weekend, I feel I’ve gained a certain measure of faith in myself and in my ability to change. I also had some realizations that I believe will be very helpful to me. I feel encouraged. Both the content and presentation of this program were so well-thought out that I can’t think of any way to improve it.” — Andrea Gollin, writer & editor, Miami, FL
I absolutely love this stuff! I have been using it with my clients and I am just finding it to be so incredibly helpful. There seriously something for everything. Although I am not as skilled as I hope to be someday, even at my level of training I’m finding that I am beginning to figure out what to do. It just blows my mind! - Christine Brudnicki, MS, LPC
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“I have been reminded that I am not on this path alone, that others are sharing the journey that sometimes seems so difficult. I have also been reminded of the importance of daily practice and I will do that. The whole program has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you!” — Lorraine Plauth, retired teacher, Voorheesville, NY
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“My patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“My personal practice will change, as well as my yoga classes. I have a better understanding of yoga!” — Andrea Gattuso, RYT, Yoga Teacher, Hackettstown, N.J.
“I have found the LFYP training to be incredibly useful in giving people specific tools to use in maintaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, and further opening their intuitive abilities.” — Nancy Windheart, RYT-200, LFYP, Reiki Master, Animal communication teacher, Prescott, AZ
“I feel profoundly transformed, both physically and emotionally. The connection between mind, body and spirit was clearly evident to me, but revealed to me through this workshop as an integrally vital link to overall health.” — Nadine Richardson, program manager at rehab agency, Monroe, CT
Scroll to Top