India has always been the land of new avenues. When it comes to health and fitness, the biggest form of fitness training, the yoga came from our ancient ascetics and saints who meditated for years acquired the ability to control their breathing patterns which proved helpful for their physical and mental health, hence not only strengthened their concentration, but also longevity.
The same breathing patterns were taught and practised by common people to promote better physical and mental health among mankind in the form of yoga.
Today it has been found, that meditation and yoga gives better benefit to mental health than any other treatment.
A breathing based meditation called Sudarshan Kriya helps control depressive disorders.
The 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.
Earlier, the method was applied on people with milder depression, who were into drugs or alcohol addiction, and they responded positively to the breathing exercise, than they did to rehabilitating medicines.
A randomized controlled pilot study in the department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania, found out that the particular technique of meditation proved beneficial to many suffering from anxiety and depression. After two months of application of this yoga, the group cut its mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score by several points, while the control group showed no improvements.
The reports were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
It has been observed, that intake of antidepressants on a regular basis, makes you accommodative to it, and many, including 41 million Americans, stop responding to these pills after sometime, and even though they are suggested other treatment methods, they do not have much benefit.
This yogic exercise of breathing was recommended to such people suffering from major depressive disorders, and most of them responded positively to it.
According to Anup Sharma, who had performed the research at Pennsylvania, this breathing based meditation is a low-cost therapy, which is free from medication, and can better help people with depressive disorders.
As per the pilot study, patients in the Sudarshan Kriya yoga group showed a significantly greater improvement in HDRS scores compared to patients in the waitlist group. With a mean baseline HDRS score of 22.0 (indicating severe depression at the beginning of the study), the group that completed the breathing technique for the full two months improved scores by 10.27 points on average, compared to the waitlist group, which showed no improvements. Patients in the yoga group also showed significant mean reductions in total scores of the self-reported Beck Depression (15.48 point improvement) and Beck Anxiety Inventories (5.19 point improvement), versus the waitlist control group.
Yoga is always an effective way to keep yourself healthy in body and mind. Exercise helps you lose calories, makes you fit, which automatically reduces depression and anxiety, by increasing level of serotonin in the brain.
Hence this can prove to be better than many medicines which come handy with a prescription