Yogic meditation practice helps you to deal with depression
A breathing-based yogic meditation practice could help you to deal with depression in people who do not fully respond to the antidepressant treatments, according to a new study, which is led by an Indian-origin scientist.
Researchers have found that significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety in medicated patients with a major depressive disorder (MDD) who have participated in the breathing technique known as ‘Sudarshan Kriya yoga.’
This meditation technique can be practiced in a group setting and at home also. It includes a series of sequential, rhythm-specific breathing exercises that would bring people into a deep, restful and meditative state: slow and calm breaths, which is alternated with fast and stimulating breaths.
Sudarshan Kriya yoga
“Sudarshan Kriya yoga gives people an active method to experience a deep meditative state that’s easy to learn and incorporate in diverse settings,” said Anup Sharma, research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the study.
Past studies have suggested that yoga and other controlled breathing techniques can be potentially adjusted the nervous system to further reduce stress hormones. In the study, researchers enrolled 25 patients suffering from MDD who were depressed, despite more than eight weeks of antidepressant medication treatment.
The medicated patients were further randomised to either the breathing intervention group or the “waitlist” control group for around eight weeks. During the first week, participants have completed a six-session programme, which have featured Sudarshan Kriya yoga in addition to yoga postures, sitting meditation and stress education.
For weeks two through eight, participants have attended weekly Sudarshan Kriya yoga follow-up sessions and have completed a home practice version of the technique. Patients in the Sudarshan Kriya yoga group have also shown a significantly greater improvement in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) scores compared to the patients in the waitlist group.
HDRS is the most widely used clinician-administered depression assessment that scores mood, interest in activities, energy, suicidal thoughts and feelings of guilt, among other symptoms.