A recent study shows that yoga might be more effective in lessening effects of anxiety than originally thought. According to a study conducted by the Clinical Psychiatry Research Center of Tabriz University in Tabriz, Iran, a yoga practice of twice a week demonstrated that the “severity of anxiety decreased significantly after yoga and participants reported well-being and better function." Led by Dr. Fatemeh Ranjbar, the study in question provided an optimistic outlook for yoga in relation to mental health. However, the study also noted that short-term yoga participation limited the effectiveness of the results, and that in order for long-term results, long-term practice was required.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders and Medication

The findings of this research are big for those suffering from OCD because it brings up the idea of alternatives to medication for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Medication is often used to treat OCD, which can cause both side effects and a need for ongoing duration. However, a single study demonstrating the effectiveness of yoga in long-term treatment does not suffice as adequate support in a clinical setting. That said, if no underlying medical issues are present, engaging in yoga as a physical practice is not dangerous.

What is Yoga?

With the numerous amounts of yoga studios popping up on every corner, it's hard to differentiate between all the different types of yoga. In short, the study described yoga as “gentle stretching; exercises for breath control; and meditation as mind-body intervention." This type of yoga, founded in India as a way to combine both the physical and spiritual world, has received the primary attention of the research world. It is called Hatha yoga.

Yoga for Your Anxiety

While this study emphasized Hatha yoga, focusing on your breath and physical posture can be found in multiple types of yoga. Yoga has proved helpful in not only alleviating anxieties, but has been studied to combat the following illness:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Low back pain
  • Cancer
  • Insomnia

More on the Study

The study examined 40 women with clinically diagnosed OCD. Their ages ranged between 19 and 55. Those studied either practiced yoga for a set period or watch television as the control. The severity of the disorders was based off the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YB-OCS). Only the intervention group received significant reduction in anxiety, with the control group showing no mentionable change.

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Date of original publication:

Updated: September 04, 2016