"Talk therapy can be helpful in finding problem-solving strategies and understanding your own strengths and what's happening to you, but there are times when you just need to kind of get moving and work through the body," says Melanie Greenberg, PhD, a psychology professor at Alliant International University.
Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system.
But what is perhaps unknown to those who consider yoga just another exercise form is that there is a growing body of research documenting yoga's psychological benefits. Several recent studies suggest that yoga may help strengthen social attachments, reduce stress and relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia. Researchers are also starting to claim some success in using yoga and yoga-based treatments to help active-duty military and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"The evidence is showing that yoga really helps change people at every level," says Stanford University health psychologist and yoga instructor Kelly McGonigal, PhD.