Hot Yoga’s Potential in Treating Depression

A groundbreaking study by Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reveals that heated yoga may significantly alleviate depressive symptoms in adults with moderate-to-severe depression​​​​.

Key Findings

  • Clinical Trial Setup: An eight-week randomized controlled trial involving 80 participants, divided into two groups: a heated yoga group and a waitlist control group.
  • Yoga Sessions: The intervention group participated in 90-minute Bikram yoga sessions in a 105°F room, attending an average of 10.3 classes over the trial period.
  • Significant Improvements: Participants in the heated yoga group experienced a notably greater reduction in depressive symptoms compared to the waitlist group, as measured by the clinician-rated Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS-CR) scale.
  • Remission Rates: 44% of participants in the yoga group reached remission levels of depression, a stark contrast to 6.3% in the control group.
  • Frequency of Sessions: Even participants who attended only half of the recommended yoga sessions showed symptom reduction, indicating benefits from as little as one session per week.
  • Future Research Directions: Plans to investigate the individual contributions of heat and yoga to these clinical effects, and a comparison between heated and nonheated yoga for depression treatment.


  • A Non-Medication Approach: This study highlights the potential of yoga and heat-based interventions as a non-pharmaceutical treatment for depression, offering physical benefits alongside mental health improvements.
  • Positive Participant Feedback: The hot yoga sessions were positively received by participants, with no serious adverse effects reported.

Read the full Article:

Hot Yoga Treating Depression / Canva

What are the Benefits of Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga, known for its practice in a heated environment, offers several benefits beyond its potential role in treating depression. These benefits include:

  1. Improved Flexibility: The warmth in hot yoga classes helps to loosen muscles and joints, making it easier to achieve deeper stretches and poses. This can lead to improved flexibility over time.
  2. Enhanced Strength: Many yoga poses require supporting your own body weight in various ways, which can help to build strength, particularly in the core, arms, legs, and back.
  3. Stress Reduction: Like traditional yoga, hot yoga can be very relaxing and meditative, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. The heat can intensify this relaxation effect for some practitioners.
  4. Detoxification: Sweating is a natural part of hot yoga due to the high temperatures. It’s often claimed that this sweating can help detoxify the body. Although it’s important to note that the primary detoxification systems in the body are the liver and kidneys.
  5. Cardiovascular Workout: The high temperature can increase your heart rate during a hot yoga session, turning it into a cardiovascular workout. This can be beneficial for heart health and calorie burning.
  6. Improved Circulation: The heat in hot yoga can help to improve blood circulation, which can aid in muscle recovery and overall energy levels.
  7. Enhanced Mind-Body Connection: Practicing yoga in a challenging environment like a heated room can also strengthen the mind-body connection, as it requires a heightened level of focus and awareness.
  8. Skin Health: Regular sweating can also help to clear the pores, which might contribute to improved skin health.
  9. Increased Lung Capacity: Hot yoga can help improve breathing control and lung capacity due to the deep breathing techniques used in yoga, which can be beneficial for overall respiratory health.
  10. Community and Support: Joining hot yoga classes can provide a sense of community and support, as practicing with others can be motivating and encouraging.

It’s important to remember that while hot yoga offers many potential benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone.

People with certain health conditions, such as heart disease, or those who are pregnant, should consult a healthcare provider before starting hot yoga. Additionally, staying hydrated and listening to one’s body is crucial to avoid overheating or dehydration.

Hot Yoga's Potential in Treating Depression / Canva