Did you know around 7% of the US population suffers from depression? The World Health Organization estimates that depression is one of the most costly global disease burdens, especially in high income nations like ours.
Physical activity has long been shown to help boost mood and fight depression (endorphins!), but one study from Duke University School of Medicine focused specifically on the relationship between yoga and mental health. Researchers conducted a "meta study," or a review of all previous research on the connection between yoga and emotional health, and found scientific evidence to support the role of yoga as a treatment for depression and other psychiatric diagnoses like sleep disorders.
"Practicing in a group setting, such as a yoga class, stimulates the production of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone," says Linda Schlamadinger McGrath, founder of YogaSource, in an interview with Every Day Health. "Practicing mindfulness through yoga and meditation also results in higher serotonin levels (the happiness hormone), and long-term practitioners have shown more mass in the areas of the brain associated with contentment."
So if you're in need of a mood boost, the research says grabbing your mat and practicing yoga can make you feel happier! One more reason to love yoga!