Research: Yoga & Mental Health

Anxiety & Depression

  • At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being.
  • Depression scores improved by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores by 65%.
  • Initial complaints of headaches, back pain, and poor sleep quality also resolved much more often in the yoga group than in the control group.
  • Bipolar Disorder 
  • This study involved self-reported benefits. Participants responded most commonly with positive emotional effects, particularly reduced anxiety, positive cognitive effects (e.g., acceptance, focus, or “a break from my thoughts”), or positive physical effects (e.g., weight loss, increased energy).
  • Some respondents considered yoga to be significantly life changing.
  • The most common negative effect of yoga was physical injury or pain.

The following research reports were provided in Yoga RX. These are the summary results:

  • In 2001, a study involving 54 young adults showed significant decrease in anxiety and depression during and after ten months of consistent yoga practices.
  • A 1999 study showed that yoga reduced general anxiety levels lowered irritability, and increased subjects’ optimistic outlook on life.
  • A 1995 study showed that anxiety patients who learned meditation as part of their treatment maintained the positive benefits for at least three years, showing that yoga’s benefits… can be a long-term solution.