Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common, recurrent, chronic and disabling.

The findings, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, provide support for the use of yoga-based interventions as an alternative or supplement to pharmacologic treatments for depression.

Due in part to its prevalence, depression is globally responsible for more years lost to disability than any other disease. Up to 40% of individuals treated with antidepressant medications for MDD do not achieve full remission.

This study used lyengar yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control.

Individuals with major depressive disorder were randomised to the high dose group, three 90-minute classes a week along with home practice, or the low dose group, two 90-minute classes a week, plus home practice.

Both groups had significant decreases in their depressive symptoms and no significant differences in compliance.

Although a greater number of participants in the high dose group had less depressive symptoms, the researchers believe attending twice weekly classes (plus home practice) may constitute a less burdensome but still effective way to gain the mood benefits from the intervention.

Individuals with major depressive disorder were randomised to the high dose group, three 90-minute classes a week along with home practice, or the low dose group, two 90-minute classes a week, plus home practice.

Both groups had significant decreases in their depressive symptoms and no significant differences in compliance.

Although a greater number of participants in the high dose group had less depressive symptoms, the researchers believe attending twice weekly classes (plus home practice) may constitute a less burdensome but still effective way to gain the mood benefits from the intervention.