Can yoga help improve my mental health?

Forms of yoga have long been acknowledged as allies in mastering the mind and coping with stress. Science has been proving its benefits in helping with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Mind-body techniques are difficult to evaluate as treatments because it is not possible to double-blind the clinical trials, but single-blind trials, open-label studies, and studies of comparative responses to mass trauma provide a substantial scientific basis for recommending yoga as a CAM treatment.

Side Effects

The rapid yoga breathing in more intensive types of yoga may affect people with bipolar disorder, psychosis or anxiety. Extra caution is advised in people with these symptoms.

Like all exercise programs, yoga can cause some people to have asthma attacks, pull muscles, or exacerbate existing medical conditions. People with chronic medical conditions and those who are pregnant should talk with a doctor before taking up a yoga program. In fact, anyone looking to start an exercise program for the first time should talk to a professional. A well-trained yoga instructor is an invaluable aid in helping people get maximum benefit from yoga.

Stretching, breathing, relaxation and exercise are good for almost everyone. Yoga can benefit people who have mental health conditions, as well as those who do not.

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