Yoga is associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms among adults with a diagnosed mental health disorder, according to a review published online May 18 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researchers from the University of South Australia in Adelaide conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials comparing a physically active yoga intervention to a waitlist control among adults with a recognized diagnosed mental disorder.

The researchers identified 19 studies (1,080 participants) but included only 13 studies (632 participants) in the meta-analysis. There were greater reductions in depressive symptoms with yoga than waitlist treatment (standardized mean difference, 0.41). The investigators also found an association between a higher frequency of yoga sessions per week and greater reductions in depressive symptoms (β = −0.44).

Consideration of yoga as an evidence-based exercise modality alongside conventional forms of exercise is warranted, given the positive results of this review.

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