Practising yoga may boost brain chemical levels, prevent depression

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The study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, assessed a group of 30 clinically depressed patients who were randomly divided into two groups.

Practising yoga may increase levels of a messenger molecule involved in regulating brain activity, and completing one yoga class per week may maintain elevated levels of this chemical, according to a study which may lead to better ways of mitigating depressive symptoms.

The study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, assessed a group of 30 clinically depressed patients who were randomly divided into two groups.

According to the researchers, including those from Boston University in the US, both groups engaged in coherent breathing, and Iyengar yoga — a form of hatha yoga, developed by B. K. S. Iyengar, emphasising on detail, precision, and alignment in the performance of yoga postures.

The only difference between the groups, the scientists said, was the number of 90 minute yoga sessions, and home sessions in which each group participated.

Over three months, they said, the high-dose group (HDG) was assigned three sessions per week, while the low-intensity group (LIG) engaged in two sessions per week.

The participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of their brain before the first and after the last yoga session, and also completed a clinical depression scale to monitor their symptoms, the study noted.

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