The Risks and Mental Health Benefits of Hot Yoga Participation for Adults with Anxiety and/or Depression

By Casey Mace Firebaugh and Brandon Eggleston.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Background: There is little evidence examining the risks of hot yoga participation for individuals with depression or anxiety. Methods: A large cross-sectional study (n=700) was conducted using an online survey for hot yoga participants. Individuals who self-identified having anxiety and/or depression (n=317) made up a large proportion of the main sample. Individuals reported the experience of adverse outcomes as well as benefits as a result of hot yoga practice. Chi-squared and Pearson correlation scores were calculated between the presence of anxiety and/or depression and the experience of an adverse outcome or benefit related to mental health. Results: Those with depression and/or anxiety were more likely to experience decreased anxiety and depression, while those specifically with comorbid anxiety/depression were more likely to experience improved mood as a result of hot yoga participation. Those with depression and anxiety were more likely to experience some adverse outcomes that are related symptoms to those disorders as well as side-effects of medications for treatments common for those conditions as a result of hot yoga participation, such as dizziness, nausea, and feeling light-headed. Conclusion: Overall the risks of hot yoga participation do not appear to outweigh the benefits of participation. The symptoms of anxiety and depression and psychiatric medications need further examination in their interaction with hot yoga practice.

Keywords: Hot Yoga, Anxiety, Depression, Risks

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2017, pp.1-7. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 643.258KB).

Dr. Casey Mace Firebaugh

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington, USA

Dr. Brandon Eggleston

Professor, School of Health and Human Services, National University, San Diego, California, USA