Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effects of Gentle Hatha Yoga for Women With Major Depression: Findings From a Randomized Controlled Mixed-Methods Study

Published:April 11, 2013DOI:
      Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common, debilitating chronic condition in the United States and worldwide. Particularly in women, depressive symptoms are often accompanied by high levels of stress and ruminations, or repetitive self-critical negative thinking. There is a research and clinical imperative to evaluate complementary therapies that are acceptable and feasible for women with depression and that target specific aspects of depression in women, such as ruminations. To begin to address this need, we conducted a randomized, controlled, mixed-methods community-based study comparing an 8-week yoga intervention with an attention-control activity in 27 women with MDD. After controlling for baseline stress, there was a decrease in depression over time in both the yoga group and the attention-control group, with the yoga group having a unique trend in decreased ruminations. Participants in the yoga group reported experiencing increased connectedness and gaining a coping strategy through yoga. The findings provide support for future large scale research to explore the effects of yoga for depressed women and the unique role of yoga in decreasing rumination.
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