Hot Yoga’s Potential Role in Depression Treatment

3 Min Read


Clinical Trial Findings

A clinical trial conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School suggests that hot yoga may have a beneficial effect on depression. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, involved 80 participants with depression who were assigned to either a hot yoga group or a waitlist control group.

The hot yoga group was prescribed at least two 90-minute sessions per week, while the control group was placed on a waiting list. Over an eight-week period, participants in the hot yoga group attended an average of 10.3 classes.

The results showed that 44% of participants in the hot yoga group experienced remission of their depression symptoms, compared to only 6.3% in the control group. Overall, two-thirds of the hot yoga group reported decreased depression symptoms.

Lead Study Author’s Commentary

“Yoga and heat-based interventions could potentially change the course of treatment for patients with depression by providing a non-medication-based approach with additional physical benefits as a bonus,” said lead study author Dr. Maren Nyer.

Supporting Research

  • Researchers from the University of South Australia have found that regular exercise may be more effective in treating mental illness than medication.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health problem or disorder during their lifetime.
  • According to a recent Gallup poll, as many as 29% of Americans have been diagnosed with depression.

Celebrity Endorsements

Hot yoga has also garnered support from celebrities known for their mental health advocacy, such as Drew Barrymore.


While further research is needed to determine the specific mechanisms and effectiveness of hot yoga for depression, the available evidence suggests that it may be a promising non-pharmacological treatment option that offers both physical and mental health benefits.

Author: Kimberly D. Adams

Kimberly D. Adams is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and wellness. She has written for a variety of publications, including Yoga Journal, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health.


Share This Article