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Can yoga reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression?

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Study limitations included a range of symptom severity, variable type and length of yoga, lack of participant blinding, wait-list rather than active-treatment controls, and a lack of consistent long-term follow-up data. The RCTs didn’t report any adverse effects of yoga, and yoga is considered safe when taught by a competent instructor.3,4


The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments recommend yoga as an effective adjunctive treatment to decrease the severity of depression symptoms.5,6

The Veterans Health Administration and the US Department of Defense recommend yoga as a potential adjunctive treatment to manage the hyperarousal symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).7

The Work Loss Data Institute recommends yoga as an intervention for workers compensation conditions including occupational stress, major depressive disorder, PTSD, and other mental disorders.8

Evidence-based answers from the Family Physicians Inquiries Network

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