Author(s): Rao NP, Varambally S, Gangadhar BN
Yoga is a traditional life-style practice used for spiritual reasons. However, the physical components like the asanas and pranayaamas have demonstrated physiological and therapeutic effects. There is evidence for Yoga as being a potent antidepressant that matches with drugs. In depressive disorder, yoga 'corrects' an underlying cognitive physiology. In schizophrenia patients, yoga has benefits as an add-on intervention in pharmacologically stabilized subjects. The effects are particularly notable on negative symptoms. Yoga also helps to correct social cognition. Yoga can be introduced early in the treatment of psychosis with some benefits. Elevation of oxytocin may be a mechanism of yoga effects in schizophrenia. Certain components of yoga have demonstrated neurobiological effects similar to those of vagal stimulation, indicating this (indirect or autogenous vagal stimulation) as a possible mechanism of its action. It is time, psychiatrists exploited the benefits if yoga for a comprehensive care in their patients.