A review published in the journal “Aging & Mental Health” showed that yoga is very beneficial for your physical and mental health.

Researchers scrutinized 15 studies—12 of them randomized controlled trials (high quality studies) —from the past two decades that looked at different methods of relaxation.  They evaluated the effectiveness of various techniques such as yoga; listening to music; tensing and relaxing different groups of muscles; massage therapy; and stress management training.

The most effective ways to alleviate depression were yoga and via the music intervention and the muscle tensing and relaxing exercise called PMRT (progressive muscle relaxation training).  The music and yoga interventions were the best for anxiety.

However, yoga had the strongest staying power.  The positive effects from the stretching, breathing and meditation exercises stuck around six months later in older adults.

“It could help counterbalance the negative effects of ageing, improve physical functioning, postpone disability, decrease morbidity and mortality, stimulate the mind, and increase hope, reducing the risk of anxiety and depression,” the study authors write.

And good vibes from PMRT lasted 14 weeks after the intervention ended. “It is believed that the PMRT has a “calming” effect, triggers a sense of peacefulness, helps participants retreat mentally from their problem and curtails negative thoughts, reducing depressive symptoms,” the authors write.