Yoga practices: yoga poses (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama) and mindfulness meditation (MBSR) have shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) comparable to other therapeutic and pharmacologic approaches as well as being effective in combination. Research indicates yoga helps to:
IMPROVE: mood * tolerance of physical & sensory experiences * self-efficacy & self-esteem
INCREASE: emotional awareness * psychological flexibility * GABA levels * heart-rate variability (HRV)
REDUCE: frequency of intrusive thoughts * severity of hyperarousal symptoms
YOGA + PTSD STUDY
Results from a small 10-week study comparing the benefits of trauma-sensitive yoga classes as an adjunct treatment for PTSD with a women’s education and support group found the yoga group not only had reduced symptoms during treatment but also maintained the improvement at the 2 month follow-up; 52% of the yoga group (21% control) no longer met the criteria for PTSD. (van der Kolk 2014)
MBSR + PTSD STUDY
Veterans with PTSD who participated 9 weekly MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) sessions experienced significant improvements in self-reported symptoms compared to control (48.9% vs 28.1%) with improvement maintained at the 2 month follow-up appointment post-intervention. (Polusny 2015)
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma ~ Bessel van der Kolk MD
Yoga for Depression ~Amy Weintraub
Yoga Skills for Therapists ~Amy Weintraub
Mindful Way Through Depression ~Mark Williams, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body ~David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD
Carter JJ, Gerbarg PL, Brown RP et al. Multi-component yoga breath program for Vietnam veteran PTSD: RCT. J Trauma Stress Disord Treat. 2013;2:3.
Dick AM et al. Examining Mechanisms of Change in a Yoga Intervention for Women: The Influence of Mindfulness, Psychological Flexibility, and Emotion Regulation on PTSD Symptoms. J of Clin Psychology. 2014. 70 (12): 1170-82
Emerson D et al. Trauma sensitive yoga: principles, practice and research. Int J Yoga Ther. 2009;19(1):13–128
Karl, L. (2012). Compassionate presence: Teaching trauma-sensitive yoga. Yoga Therapy Today, 8(2), 20–22
Polusny, MA et al. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for PTSD Among Veterans: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2015;314(5):456-465.
Streeter CC et al. Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov; 16(11): 1145–1152
Van derKolk B et al. Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for PTSD: a RTC. J of Clin Psych. 2014;75(6):e559–e565
Telles S, Singh N, Joshi M, et al. Post traumatic stress symptoms & heart rate variability in Bihar flood survivors following yoga: a RCT. BMC Psychiatry. 2010;10:18.
van der Kolk B et al. Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for PTSD: a RTC. J of Clin Psych. 2014;75(6):e559–e565
van der Kolk BA et al. Clinical Implications of Neuroscience Research in PTSD. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2006. 1-17