Hot Yoga Can Lead to Reduced Symptoms of Depression, New Study Finds

Hot Yoga Can Lead to Reduced Symptoms of Depression, New Study Finds

Still wondering if and why you should bother doing hot yoga? Many people feel it's hot, or dangerous, or don't really understand the science behind it. Well, we're excited to tell you that practicing hot yoga has incredible physical and mental benefits.

In a recent trial conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital, heated yoga sessions led to reduced symptoms of depression. The research findings were published on Monday, October 23, 2023 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Half of the trial's 80 participants were prescribed at least two 90-minute Bikram yoga sessions over an 8-week period, while the other half of the group was placed on a waitlist.

"After eight weeks, yoga participants had a significantly greater reduction in depressive symptoms than waitlisted participants," according to a research summary provided by Mass General Brigham.

Depressive symptoms were also reduced even in those who participated in the hot yoga sessions about half as often as planned.

Bikram yoga is practiced in a 105-degree room. Hot Vinyasa is practiced in a 90-108-degrees room. 

"Yoga and heat-based interventions could potentially change the course for treatment for patients with depression by providing a non-medication–based approach with additional physical benefits as a bonus," said lead author Maren Nyer, Ph.D., director of Yoga Studies at the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

As the winter approaches and the temperatures drop, seasonal depression can kick in for many. Hot yoga is a perfect non-medication-based approach to improve your mental symptoms, warm your body, and gain physical results. Time to give hot yoga a try this winter.

By Nicole Rothschild

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