Lots of research taut the benefits of practicing yoga, A recent study by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine finds that yoga also improves symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, suggesting that the yoga may be helpful in treating anxiety when you need it. The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a common, impairing, and undertreated condition, currently affecting an estimated 6.8 million Americans. While most people feel anxious from time to time, it is considered a disorder when worrying becomes excessive and interferes with day-to-day life.
For the study, 226 men and women with generalized anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to three groups — either cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Kundalini yoga, or stress-management education, a standardized control technique.
Kundalini yoga included physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, yoga theory, and meditation/mindfulness practice.
The stress-management education control group received lectures about the physiological, psychological and medical effects of stress, as well as the antianxiety effects of lifestyle behaviors, such as reducing alcohol and smoking, and the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. Homework consisted of listening to educational material about stress, nutrition, and lifestyle.
Each treatment was administered in groups of three to six participants, over weekly two-hour sessions for 12 weeks with 20 minutes of daily homework assigned.
After three months, yoga was found to be significantly more effective for anxiety than stress management. Specifically, 54% of those who practiced yoga met response criteria for meaningfully improved symptoms compared to 33% in the stress-education group.
This study suggests that at least short-term there is significant value for people with generalized anxiety disorder to give yoga a try to see if it works for them.
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Journal Reference: Naomi M. Simon, Stefan G. Hofmann, David Rosenfield et al. Efficacy of Yoga vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs Stress Education for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety DisorderA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 2020 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2496