Yoga may be helpful for depression, suggests a small study from UC San Francisco, published in PLOS ONE in 2017.
People with mild to moderate depression but not in therapy or on medication were randomized to either a hatha yoga group (two 90-minute sessions a week) or to a control group that learned about the history and philosophy of yoga but did not do it.
After eight weeks, those in the yoga group had improvements in depression symptoms and were more likely to achieve depression remission than the control group.
The researchers hypothesized that elements of yoga—including regulation of breath, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, and basic physical activity—may act together to trigger mood benefits.
Earlier this year, two studies on people being treated for depression found that yoga’s benefits increased over time.
If you suffer from depression, however, you should be under professional care: You may need medical treatment, not just yoga.
Also see Dealing With Depression Without Drugs.