How Yoga can Reduce Depression without Medication
People have practiced yoga for thousands of years. Engaging in a spiritual practice, forging a mind/body connection, and achieving physical fitness are all popular reasons to learn yoga. To this day, countless physicians, research studies, and media publications have been touting the benefits of yoga for health and wellness.
These benefits are not limited to the physical body, however. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.”
As the world has begun to look into the causes, effects, and treatments of depression and other mental health issues, what were once considered alternative approaches have become more mainstream.
At first glance, it might seem difficult to measure yoga’s advantages over medications. However, researchers have used specific depression scales to quantify the results. Yoga’s efficacy at treating ADHD and schizophrenia is less clear, but worth investigating further if there’s a chance of reducing or avoiding problems with prescribed medications.
Common complaints about taking medication for depression:
- Side Effects – Perhaps the one factor causing people to switch medications repeatedly, or to stop using them altogether, is the existence of side effects. These can range from mild discomfort to potentially deadly reactions.
- Cost – Even the best insurance plans don’t always cover expensive prescriptions. If generic versions exist, they can be costly as well.
- Overall Efficacy – This varies from patient to patient, who have inconsistent response rates based on biological, psychological, and social factors. It can be frustrating to try different prescriptions before finding the right one.
If you’re tired of trying different medications and not finding the one that’s right for you, or dealing with side effects, consider incorporating yoga into your wellness routine.
Advantages of yoga for depression:
- No Side Effects – Other than the slight risk of injury or strain depending on the pose, you’re not likely to experience serious side effects from practicing yoga.
- Low/No Cost – Look for free or inexpensive classes or instructional videos. As for equipment, a yoga mat should suffice as you begin your practice.
- Customizable and Flexible – You can design your routine according to your preferences; for instance, you can choose whether to practice at home, outdoors, or in a class.
Of course, individuals will respond differently to different treatments. There’s no “one size fits all” solution, and medications are proven to help many people battling depression. In conjunction with a holistic approach that incorporates yoga and other lifestyle changes, however, you might feel more in control of your mental health. The best strategy is to become informed of your options and consult with your doctor in order to develop a customized treatment plan.