When it comes to battling depression, treatments involving therapy and medications (prescription or otherwise) are often viewed as the most obvious ways to cope with such an ailment. However, turning to a specific form of yoga can also prove beneficial.
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Sudarshan Kriya yoga (SKY) breathing technique can help relieve depression in individuals who do not react well to antidepressant treatments.
“With such a large portion of patients who do not fully respond to antidepressants, it’s important we find new avenues that work best for each person to beat their depression,” said the study’s lead researcher, Anup Sharma, MD, PhD. “Here, we have a promising, lower-cost therapy that could potentially serve as an effective, non-drug approach for patients battling this disease.”
She continued: “Sudarshan Kriya yoga gives people an active method to experience a deep meditative state that’s easy to learn and incorporate in diverse settings.”
As the International Journal of Yoga explains, SKY is “a unique yogic breathing practice, involves several types of cyclical breathing patterns, ranging from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating.”
Now, the positive influence of SKY as it relates to depression isn’t a new idea. In fact, a 2009 Harvard Mental Health Letter published by Harvard University recognized SKY’s potential: “A type of controlled breathing with roots in traditional yoga shows promise in providing relief for depression. The program [is] called Sudarshan Kriya yoga (SKY).”