Can Yoga Reduce Symptoms of Major Psychiatric Disorders

yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

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.

Does anyone out there feel yoga has helped them manage their mental illness?

Read the full article from Time here.

For me, this rings very true, as I am living for the first time away from the United States, far from my regular routine of daily yoga and weekly counseling. I struggled with severe depression in high school, and yoga became an outlet for me, as it helped me relax and I found some sort of peace that inspired me to keep going. I was later diagnosed with a mood disorder NOS after my first major manic episode and was unable to go for quite some time. For me, I have found yoga to be increasingly helpful, and I do begin to notice a difference when I stop doing it regularly. For example, I moved to Europe in September and was unable to find a yoga studio that resembled one I would go to in the States. I gave up, and stopped doing completely for about 4 months. Without yoga, I am less in touch with my feelings and find it harder to adequately process my emotions in a non-negative way. I have also found it helpful in terms of self-confidence; when I am more aware of being good to my body, I tend to eat much healthier and less emotionally. I knew something was lacking and I was pretty sad about not being able to practice yoga here. Luckily, I have now found a website with many online classes and after about 2 weeks, I am feeling some of the benefits and am now more motivated to stay active. As my identity is now (for me, at least) quite tied to my mental illness, I know that yoga has helped me to become more stable and feel good in a holistic way.

So…you’re an ex-pat, too! I moved from Seattle to The Netherlands 1.5 years ago and it’s been quite an adjustment. I know how frustrating it is when you are looking for a place to perform an activity and just can’t quite find the same dynamic you’re used to in the US. Sounds like the online classes have hit the spot for you, though. I used to do yoga a lot, but was always too self-conscious to attend a class. Are you finding the same benefits doing yoga at home? Good point about yoga making you more aware of the body, and therefore you treat yourself with more care. How many times a week do you practice?

Hi — wow didn’t notice your reply until I came back on here to look at the new comments on your post. Seattle love! I completely relate with your comment about not being able to find the dynamic I am used in the US in terms of my yoga classes — tried out a class or two here and became intensely less-motivated to any yoga at all. The online classes have been helping though, and now have even began to get a bit more outside exercise in as well as the weather has been warming up. I find myself frequently sitting in my room knowing I should get outside more, but perfectly contented knowing that I have no accountability to actually get out and do it. The yoga is making me a bit more motivated, and I can’t deny the positive influence of outdoors exercise for me and my mood disorder — when it actually happens! Lately I have been practicing a few times a week — anywhere from 3-6 depending on how hectic my schedule it. It has also helped to pencil in this me-time, and in that hour I am away from my computer and like that disconnect that I am usually so drawn to. I’m also trying to get over that I can’t practice the same way I did last year, and have been more okay with doing 20 minutes rather than nothing. That is probably the biggest success for me, I feel. I am so easily deterred from things knowing that I won’t be as successful as I feel I should be. So long story short, I love yoga because it makes me very aware of not only my body, but of my mental processes and how I go — or don’t go — about trying to make myself feel better when I know I need a boost. It’s a nice, calming activity that never fails to make me feel at peace and as one of my teachers said, at the end of the day, no one ever regrets doing yoga!

You know, I am going to look into the online classes before I try and attend a class here. I am not at all good with Dutch and have zero confidence to stroll into a class. You make a very good point about being happy with just a 20 minute practice. When I was still practicing, I wouldn’t settle for anything less than 1.5 hours of vinyasa (I was also manic at the time, but you get the idea). There are benefits to be had from being able to focus on any one thing, even if it is for a short period of time. It’s times like these I miss Seattle. There were five studios right by my house. If I didn’t like one, I could just go to another. But, that’s what the Internet is for these days, right? (BTW, Seane Corn just finished shooting another DVD. I don’t know when it will be out, but it’s something to look forward to!)

Oh! and check out they have tons of videos by talented and well-known instructors from the States. There is also a 15 day free trial that is definitely worth checking out!

Oh that is good news! She also has some videos on yogaglo, I think. I can’t believe I didn’t find the site earlier… it is really a life saver and I hope you enjoy the free trial! I know what you mean too, when I get back to the States and I going to completely revel in being able to choose between different vinyasa studios… with classes in English!

I actually started a post of the subject -prompted by the same article, on Canvas. It’s still in draft, though. Life has been terribly busy for me lately and it’s only going to get worse in next couple of weeks.

I find that Yoga helps me a lot. Not only makes me happy ( I leave every session with a smile on my face and more centered, but it also helps with the pain from fibromyalgia.

That does it. As soon as I get over this damn cold I am going to find my mat and yoga DVDs! Getting past pain and smiling sounds like a great deal to me 🙂 Stay well, SSGirl. Don’t let the busy carry you away.

Yeah, I really recommend yoga. Just make sure you find the right kind for you. I don’t like the hot one, for example. Cant’ do it.

And I’ll try. Starting today, it’s gonna be a whirlwind. Hope you feel better soon. Colds are no fun 🙁

Mr. Chickadee and I are planning on trialing a yoga studio this month. He’s been having back problems (he’s very tall) and I’m, well, mental. So we’ll see how it goes…

Heh! Let me know how it goes. I’m going to call a yoga studio here and ask if they call the poses by the ‘right’ names. I am so hopeless at Dutch. If they do the entire class in Nederlands I might as well skip it and go straight to the hospital 🙂


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