Singer Britney Spears has been public about her struggles with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and how her mental health is often made worse by the magnifying glass of stardom. Her treatments of choice include medications, talk therapy and ... yoga.
She’s definitely onto something. A recent study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, followed 226 adults diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder for three months and found that Kundalini yoga, which involves breathing routines, postures and meditation, can relieve persistent and excessive worry. For the study, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one received cognitive behavioral therapy, the second group did yoga and the third was given stress-management education that included lectures on how to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
More than 50% of participants who did yoga reported improvements in symptoms compared to 33% in the stress-education group. True, CBT was most effective — 71% of participants trying that therapy said their symptoms improved measurably.
But as an alternative (if you cannot avail yourself of therapy right now) or in combination with CBT, yoga is clearly a smart move — or set of moves. At home, all you need is a mat plus an instructive video, interactive Zoom class or access to an online class.
So if you are one of the estimated 40% of Americans who are anxious about serious illness or death as a result of COVID-19 and more than 6 million contending with generalized anxiety disorder, give yoga a try. For a multitude of remote yoga classes, check out the listings on www.doyogawithme.com.