Yoga, in its various forms, is popular for the positive effects it has on the physical health of the practitioner. Another benefit being brought forth by research is that yoga could aid in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
While it is not the first of its kind to establish this association, a recent study led by a team at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine found that yoga, more specifically Kundalini yoga, can be effective to lower anxiety in people with generalized anxiety disorder. However, the researchers caution that cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, remains a more effective first-line treatment. This suggests that CBT can be supplemented with the inclusion of yoga as a routine practice.
“Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments,” says lead author of the study, Naomi M. Simon, MD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan.”
The randomized clinical trial involved 226 participants with generalized anxiety disorder. Each one was assigned to one of three groups – CBT, Kundalini yoga, and stress management education – for a duration of 12 weeks. Apart from physical postures, Kundalini yoga also includes meditation and mindfulness practices.
The results of this study have been published in JAMA Psychiatry.