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(Photo: Weheartit.com)

By Markham Held for Prevention.com

 

Feeling blue? Close the fridge, skip the wine, and hit the yoga mat instead. Turns out that a little downward-facing dog may be all it takes to cheer you up. A new research review out of Duke University reveals that yoga can relieve a multitude of mental health woes, from depression to memory problems.

“We found that both the aerobic component of yoga as well as its meditative aspects relieve the symptoms of several major psychiatric disorders,” explains study review co-author Murali Doraiswamy, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Duke’s School of Medicine. The aerobic nature of yoga enhances blood circulation and boosts the release of endorphins, Doraiswamy explains, and the meditative aspect can improve focus and attention, while also helping us relax.

And it doesn’t matter whether you practice vinyasa or Bikram: Doraiswamy says that no single method of yoga appears to be more beneficial than any other. It only takes 30 minutes, three times a week, to feel a difference, he says. “Even once a week will provide benefits,” Doraiswamy adds.

Keep reading for five ways yoga can heal…

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