Yoga is not only beneficial for ordinary people including those in the business world but also for the military. This is also true for regular meditation practice. While it is somewhat cool to be in the military, the experience is terrible especially those in the combat field.
This is why when a military guy gets home from war, debriefing is essential. This helps restore their psychological state to normal. As a matter of fact, CNN reports a study wherein the researchers find higher depression rates in the military than civilians. Moreover, an earlier study1 confirmed the prevalence of major depression in the military.
In one report back in 2016, it’s unfortunate that no effective therapy for war-related stress. However, a recent study2 finds something natural and effective to address depression in military men, and it is through yoga.
Hatha Yoga Reduces Depression In Men (Veterans)
There are many studies backed the health benefits of meditation on the brain. But what about yoga? Well, it is just as beneficial. In this case, it helps veteran military men who suffer from depression.
In this study, Lindsey Hopkins, Ph.D., of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center took 23 male veterans and put them to yoga practice twice a week for 8 weeks. Shy says;
Yoga is unique in that it combines several things that empirical research has shown to be very helpful for improving depression and other mental health concerns: exercise, mindfulness, and breathing practices, to name a few.
Throughout the course of the study, male veterans who participated have significant improvements. The improvements correlate the increase in mindfulness practice. They were also able to decrease experiential avoidance or engagement in a bad experience. This particular behavior is helpful in avoiding unwanted sensations, emotions, and thoughts.
Moreover, the social part of yoga may also help in the reduction of depression. During interviews with the veterans, many of them experience the benefit of having the chance to connect with other veterans.
Even more interesting and important, the veterans were not only able to reduce their depression but also enjoy doing yoga. In fact, those who participated recommend it to their fellow veterans.
In a press release, Lindsey added;
Yoga has become increasingly popular in the West, and many new yoga practitioners cite stress-reduction and other mental health concerns as their primary reason for practicing. But the empirical research on yoga lags behind its popularity as a first-line approach to mental health.
More Evidence Prove That Yoga is Beneficial For Reducing Depression
Lindsey research is just one of the few studies showing evidence yoga can reduce depression. Here are other studies presented, which is also included in press release.
- One pilot study involving 29 adults that hot yoga significantly reduce depression. The yoga sessions were done at least twice a week for a period of 8 weeks.
- Another study wherein Lindsey is a co-author found that 52 women with ages ranging from 25 to 45 benefit from 8 weeks of hot yoga. During the course of 8 weeks, the women experience a significant reduction in depression.
- Another study involving 12 patients having depression for an average of 11 years also enjoy the benefits of yoga. The weekly yoga sessions provide a significant decrease in not just depression but also stress and anxiety.
- Lastly, one study involving 74 students with mild depression perform yoga at home for 8 days. After two months, these students were able to lower their stress, anxiety, and depression significantly. While relaxation also plays an important role in fighting off depression, in this study, it is yoga that provides significant reduction.
Real-Life Yoga Experience with Military Veterans
The participants in the study were real people. However, it may be a good idea to present some ex-military men who were able to conquer war-related issues such depression and PTSD with yoga.
These guys are truly inspirational and hopefully, you’ll be able to convince yourself to do yoga especially if you are suffering from depression. This first guy lost both of his legs. He was able to walk and live a normal life but not until doing yoga where he finds peace.
Here is another ex-military guy who suffered from PTSD but able to cope it with yoga.
As you may notice, these guys even though they’re tough, they cry as they tell their experiences. This is how powerful yoga when you immerse yourself in it. Crying does not mean coward or weak, it’s a way of expressing something from deep inside that no words can explain. It releases emotion allowing the experience of mental clarity and eventually relieving depression, stress and anxiety.
Here’s another military guy who finds peace of mind with yoga and now helping his fellow veterans to cope with PTSD through yoga.
Moreover, it’s not just the military that enjoys the benefits of yoga. As mentioned earlier, anyone can benefit from yoga. In this video below, see the positive impact of yoga on inmates.
These are just a few examples of real men with real-life experiences fo defeating depression and PTSD with yoga. If you do your own research, you may many others, and probably, one of them is a close relative or even your neighbor.
Yoga, although an ancient practice provides amazing health benefits both mental and physical. What about you, are into yoga or if not, why not? Start now! With consistent and dedicated practice, you’ll be able to reap the benefits soon.
Consistency Is Key
Yoga truly works and reduces depression, anxiety, stress and even PTSD. The key is consistency. Therefore, be consistent with your practice. It does not work if you simply practice for straight for a week and then stop. Then, later you do it again if you feel the symptoms.
It doesn’t work that way. The more often you practice yoga, the better you become at handling stress and depression. The benefits build up overtime for both mental and physical aspects. Moreover, if you practice yoga, it is very common to practice mindfulness or meditation. Along with regular relaxation and creative visualization, it provides a more effective way of becoming a better or even the best version of you.
One thing is clear, yoga reduces depression, anxiety, stress, and PTSD. If you know someone who is suffering from any of these, tell them about yoga and meditation. Then, find a practitioner or mindfulness center near you that can help them get started.
Before ending this article, let us learn…