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Yoga & PTSD

Yoga practices: yoga poses (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama& mindfulness meditation (MBSR) have shown to reduce 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
  • improve tolerance of physical & sensory experiences
  • improve self-efficacy
  • improve self-esteem 
  • increase emotional awareness
  • increase psychological flexibility
  • increase GABA levels
  • increase heart-rate variability (HRV)
  • reduce frequency of intrusive thoughts
  • reduce severity of hyper-arousal symptoms

YOGA + PTSD STUDY

Results from a small 10-week study compared 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 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)

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