Yoga And Mindfulness Effective In Mental Health Treatments

June 14, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team

Yoga and mindfulness techniques appear to be beneficial in the treatment of severe mental illness (SMI). Psychopathology, anxiety, cognition, and functioning in schizophrenia patients have all improved, according to studies. Both methods have also been proven to be effective adjuvants for treating major depressive disorder (MDD).

These were the findings of research published in the International Journal of Yoga. The study further concluded that more rigorously designed and larger trials may be necessary, specifically for bipolar disorder (BD).

What does the term Yoga mean?

The word “yoga” is an acronym for “union.” It is a branch of philosophy that seeks to unite the soul of a person with the unchanging truth. Worldwide, yoga is becoming more and more popular. Yoga is seen as a type of physical activity (PE) in the West, while it is seen more holistically to integrate the body and the mind in the East.

Yoga has been shown to have several advantageous impacts on the musculoskeletal system, glucose tolerance, and cardiorespiratory function. Similarly, to this, new research on yoga and other psychiatric conditions has revealed encouraging outcomes.

Any form of yoga essentially consists of three types of yogic practices: asana-based (physical), breathing-based (breath), and meditation-based (mental). A practice based on asanas encompasses a variety of breathing- and body-synchronized positions. Yoga that incorporates meditation calls for separating from troubling thoughts and concentrating on breathing. Thirdly, breathing-based yoga, also known as “pranayama,” emphasizes slow, deliberate breathing with set intervals between inhalations and exhalations.

What is Mindfulness?

An age-old Buddhist practice known as mindfulness places a strong emphasis on paying close attention to the present moment, accepting one’s own feelings, and remaining nonjudgmental.[5] Evidence points to mindfulness’ beneficial effects on mental health, including increased coping skills and self-compassion as well as a decrease in stress, anxiety, despair, and obsessions.

Mental disorders and the use of Yoga and mindfulness

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness with a wide range of symptoms. With the available pharmaceutical medications, complete remission is difficult to achieve in most patients. It has become necessary to practice yoga and mindfulness in schizophrenia due to the negative side effects and minimal impact of drugs on cognitive deficiencies. Similarly, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have turned to alternative therapies like yoga and mindfulness due to the endurance of their depression symptoms.

Here, we aimed at reviewing the available literature on the role of yoga and mindfulness interventions in severe mental illnesses (SMIs) such as schizophrenia, MDD, and BD.

For this, the researchers conducted a literature search using PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library with the search terms “yoga,” “meditation,” “breathing exercises,” “mindfulness,” “schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders,” “depressive disorder,” and “bipolar disorder” for the last 10-year period. Relevant articles from cross-references were also included.

Yoga decreases the severity of schizophrenia

It has been demonstrated that yoga can lessen both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, lessening the severity of the condition. This may be accounted for by the psychobiological modifications brought about by yoga asanas, as shown by the reduced amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations in the precuneus, which substantially corresponded with the PANSS-blunted affect sub-score. If yoga causes similar psychobiological effects, additional research is needed to reproduce the findings on a broader scale.

Additionally, YT has been proven to dramatically enhance socio-occupational functioning and facial emotion recognition deficiencies (FERDs). FERD impairs social interaction, which might have an impact on socio-occupational functioning. A pharmacological explanation for the observed behavioural changes in the patients assigned to YT is provided by the discovery of elevated oxytocin levels in these patients. Previous research has shown that oxytocin can help people who struggle with social cognition.

Yoga Therapy effective in major depressive disorder (MDD)

Except for a few studies, Yoga Therapy has been shown to be an efficient adjuvant to antidepressants in MDD. Yoga may alleviate depression through a variety of processes, including encouraging self-talk and self-acceptance. It reduces the tendency towards negative thinking bias, boosts self-assurance, and encourages more flexible thinking.

Mindfulness helps in self-compassion

In a similar vein, the mindfulness technique has recently gained popularity as an integrated treatment for schizophrenia, MDD, and BD. Various symptom domains of schizophrenia are observed to respond favourably to mindfulness therapies in patients. According to a study by Davis et al., MBI and vocational rehabilitation may enhance each other’s effects in terms of job performance and perseverance. By helping the patient accept and understand the nature of their symptoms or by reducing subjective distress, mindfulness practices can change how someone interacts with psychotic experiences. Additionally, it aids in the growth of self-compassion, the control of unpleasant emotions, and the elimination of guilt sentiments.

Meditation and yoga most efficient integrative treatments

Studies have suggested that meditation had the strongest evidence supporting its use, and has been recommended for reducing anxiety, treating symptoms of depression, and improving quality of life



Help is here:

Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)

Name of the Organisation: The Yoga Institute

The Yoga Institute, world’s oldest yoga centre, was established in 1918. Their courses have transformed millions of lives and created more than 100000+ teachers worldwide. In 2018, The Yoga Institute received the Prime Minister’s Award for outstanding contribution for promotion and development of Yoga by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. It has branches across the country.


Contact: Email:

Telephone: +91-22-26110506, +91-22-26103568

Name of the Organisation: Vandrevala Foundation

Vandrevala Foundation is a non-profit that partners with organizations to help communities thrive by providing education and healthcare. Vandrevala Foundation launched a mental health helpline in India in 2009 to offer free psychological counselling and crisis mediation to anyone who is experiencing distress due to depression, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness, and relationship conflict.


Contact: Email:

Telephone: +91 9999 666 555

1 thought on “Yoga And Mindfulness Effective In Mental Health Treatments”

Leave a Reply