Hatha yoga is a slow burner when it comes to helping depression but persistence works.
In the largest study of yoga for depression done to date, researchers found that while the immediate effects of doing yoga were not that significant, the effects increased over time.
The team at Butler Hospital psychological research department in the UK found “yoga was superior to health education in alleviating depression symptoms”.
The team enrolled people who current had major depression or who were on anti-depressant medication but still with clinical depression symptoms.
One group took part in a hatha yoga class and the other group took part in a health education class.
The classes lasted for 10 weeks and those taking part were reviewed six months later.
“We found that yoga did indeed have an impact on depression symptoms” said Dr Lisa Uebelacker, lead researcher.
She explained how the benefits of yoga were less pronounced in early treatment but accumulated over time.
The differences were noticed three and six months after the yoga classes ended.
Details of the research have been published in the journal Psychological Medicine.