University of Pennsylvania study finds yogic breathing alleviates depression

Yogic breathing helps fight major depression, according to a study by the researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSM) at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

A Penn Medicine release of November 22 says: Controlled breathing practices show promise in patients who don’t fully respond to antidepressants.

A breathing-based meditation practice known as Sudarshan Kriya yoga helped alleviate severe depression in people who did not fully respond to antidepressant treatments, release indicated quoting reports of the new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, and added: The study bolsters the science behind the use of controlled yogic breathing to help battle depression.

In a randomized, controlled pilot study, researchers found significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety in medicated patients with major depressive disorder who participated in the breathing technique compared to medicated patients who did not partake. More than half of the 41 million Americans who take antidepressants do not fully respond, release points out.

This meditation technique, which is practiced in both a group setting and at home, includes a series of sequential, rhythm-specific breathing exercises that bring people into a deep, restful, and meditative state: slow and calm breaths alternated with fast and stimulating breaths, release explains.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, called the UPenn looking into the usage of multi-faceted yoga in fighting depression “a step in the positive direction”. Zed urged all major world universities to explore various benefits yoga offers through well-designed studies.

Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.

The UPenn claims to be “the oldest and one of the finest medical schools in the United States”, founded in 1765. Dr. J. Larry Jameson is Dean of PSM; while Dr. Amy Gutmann and David L. Cohen are President and Trustees Chair respectively of UPenn.

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