Bikram Yoga and Aerobic Exercise for the Treatment of Major Depression

2019-08-21 20:05:53 | BioPortfolio


The primary goal of this project was to examine the antidepressant effects of yoga as an alternative treatment for depression as compared to no treatment and aerobic exercise. The secondary goal of this project was to examine relevant physiological (i.e., heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels) and psychological variables (i.e., perceived hassles, rumination, mindfulness) that may underlie the antidepressant effects of Bikram yoga and aerobic exercise.


Participants attended two pre-treatment appointments. The first pre-treatment appointment was a 2-hour psychological assessment in which the study and its protocol were explained at length and consent was collected. Participants then completed a battery of measures, including a medical screening interview, a demographic interview, the full Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders, and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Participants also completed self-report psychological measures during the psychological assessment. After completion of this appointment, participants were given instructions to avoid specific substances or activities for a minimum length of time before the second pre-treatment appointment.

The second pre-treatment appointment was a 3-hour physiological assessment which was completed within 1 week of the psychological assessment. The first 30 minutes of this appointment were used to set-up the physiological measurements and allow enough time for participants to become familiarized and comfortable with the laboratory setting. Following this, a carefully timed experimental protocol was followed, during which heart rate and mean arterial pressure were measured and recorded continuously. The participants also completed a stress task and their saliva was collected. The participants also engaged in the Submaximal Cycle Ergometer Test. At the end of the physiological assessment, participants were randomly assigned via a computer-generated random sequence to one of the treatment conditions. Group assignment was revealed via sealed envelopes that had been previously prepared by research personnel. Participants who were in the waitlist group were offered yoga or aerobic classes after the completion of the study protocol.

Participants in the yoga and aerobic exercise groups then attended 2 classes per week of either yoga or aerobic exercise for 8 weeks.

Following completion of the intervention period, participants attended a 3½ hr post-treatment assessment in which all measures of the physiological pre-treatment assessment were repeated. Additionally, participants were administered the Mood Module of the SCID-I/P and the HAM-D to assess changes in diagnostic status and depression severity.

Study Design




Bikram Yoga, Aerobic Exercise




Queen's University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-08-21T20:05:53-0400

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