Data from 19 randomised international controlled trials involved more than 1,000 adult participants with a range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance misuse.
The yoga sessions, which focused on practices including hatha and kundalini, involved a variety of movement and breathing exercises, and lasted up to 90 minutes.
Results from the trials were analysed, with the experts discovering that yoga had a hugely positive impact on those with depression and schizophrenia, and even participants who battled alcoholism.
And further examination revealed that the higher the number of yoga sessions completed per week, the greater the effect on easing depressive symptoms.
“Consideration of yoga as an evidence-based exercise modality alongside conventional forms of exercise is warranted, given the positive results of this review,” the study authors wrote. “Yoga may provide an additional or alternative strategy to engage people experiencing depression in meaningful physical activity.”Full review results have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.