Yoga has often been perceived as a method of stress management tool that can assist in alleviating depression and anxiety disorders. This study sought to evaluate the influence of yoga in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety in women who were referred to a yoga clinic.
Methods: The study involved a convenience sample of women who were referred to a yoga clinic from July 2006 to July 2007. All new cases were evaluated on admission using a personal information questionnaire well as Beck and Spielberger tests. Participants were randomly assigned into an experimental and a control group. The experimental group (n=34) participated in twice weekly yoga classes of 90 min duration for two months. The control group (n=31) was assigned to a waiting list and did not receive yoga. Both groups were evaluated again after the two-month study period.
Results: The average prevalence of depression in the experimental group pre and post Yoga intervention was 12.82+/-7.9 and 10.79+/-6.04 respectively, a statistically insignificant decrease (p=0.13). However, when the experimental group was compared to the control group, women who participated in yoga classes showed a significant decrease in state anxiety (p=0.03) and trait anxiety (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Participation in a two-month yoga class can lead to significant reduction in perceived levels of anxiety in women who suffer from anxiety disorders. This study suggests that yoga can be considered as a complementary therapy or an alternative method for medical therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders.