Yoga as a medicine for depression

Yoga reduces depression severity

Adults with mild-to-moderate major depression who participated in a yoga intervention resulted in statistically and clinically significant reductions in depression severity.  This randomly controlled trial conducted in the USA the examined effects of a 90-minute Hatha yoga class done twice a week for just 8 weeks.  All adults had diagnoses with major depression and uniquely, there were no co-interventions. Of course, they engaged a number of safety protocols to protect against decline that apparently passed review.

That 90-minutes means there was a significant balance of mindful movements, multiple breath techniques, and meditative relaxation opportunities.  What part was the most powerful medicine of the practice? Is there one “active ingredient” in yoga that all the scientists are hoping to extract? The researchers looked at full and partial yoga sequences and determined that each seemed to equally yield “substantial and equivalent mood benefits”.

Conventional pharmaceuticals are used for more immediate and necessary results. This study, while acknowledging its own caveats, adds to the body of knowledge, and our own case studies using RxRelax Yoga methods, that seem to point to point in the direction of deprescription when done properly.

This is great news for those who may not have (or think they may not have) 90 minutes at time to practice.  Co-Founder Jay Gupta’s hypothesis when YogaCaps was founded (prior to the research attention on yoga) was that smaller segments (he calls them yoga capsules or YogaCaps) may be effective.

So… remember to take your yoga capsule!  I just did mine.


  1. Kathy on October 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    As a volunteer member of Yoga Caps, I must say it is one of the most rewarding opportunities I’ve experienced in my life.

    • Terry Gupta on November 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks for your comment Kathy. We are the lucky ones as we get to serve with people like you and all of the wonderful participants!

  2. Mary on November 1, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    This is so important!

    • Terry Gupta on November 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      We agree Mary!

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