Trendy hot yoga – loved by likes of Meghan Markle and Drew Barrymore – can alleviate symptoms of depression, claims study
- It involves performing poses and breathing exercises under humid conditions
- READ MORE: Forget yoga… Brits reveal their favourite ways to relieve stress
Just one hot yoga session a week can help reduce symptoms of depression, according to results of a clinical trial.
The trendy workout, favoured by celebrities including Meghan Markle and Drew Barrymore, involves performing poses and breathing exercises under hot and humid conditions.
It is practiced in 40.5C (105F) heat, resulting in considerable sweating.
Now, a study has found that adults with moderate to severe depression who took part in the sessions experienced ‘significantly greater’ reductions in depressive symptoms compared to a control group.
The trendy workout, favoured by celebrities including Meghan Markle and Drew Barrymore, involves performing poses and breathing exercises under hot and humid conditions
READ MORE: Stressed? Hang up the washing… Doing everyday tasks could be the best way to wind down
During the eight-week trial, 80 participants were split into two groups – one that received 90-minute sessions of hot yoga and a second group that was placed on a waiting list.
Those in the hot yoga group were prescribed at least two classes per week, but overall attended an average of 10.3 classes over eight weeks.
Analysis revealed that nearly two thirds of the hot yoga participants experienced a 50 per cent or greater decrease in their symptoms, compared with just 6.3 per cent of the waiting list participants.
The researchers also discovered that 44 per cent of those in the hot yoga group achieved such low scores that their depression was considered in remission.
The team said that depressive symptoms were reduced even in participants who received only half of the prescribed yoga ‘dose’ – suggesting that hot yoga sessions just once a week could be beneficial.
Markle took part in a public yoga class in 2019 in a bid to shake off her jet lag (pictured). The class kicked off shortly after she arrived in New York City to watch friend close-friend Serena Williams compete in the US Open. It took place at an eco-conscious studio, which specialised in hot yoga classes
In 2016, Barrymore shared a make-up free sweaty selfie of herself lying on the floor after a hot yoga session with her damp hair plastered to her forehead and neck
Dr Maren Nyer, the study’s lead author from Harvard Medical School, said: ‘Yoga and heat-based interventions could potentially change the course for treatment for patients with depression by providing a non-medication–based approach with additional physical benefits as a bonus.
‘We are currently developing new studies with the goal of determining the specific contributions of each element—heat and yoga—to the clinical effects we have observed in depression.’
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
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