NEW RESEARCH

Live with Anxiety? Try Yoga.

A new study reveals that the ancient routine can bring calm to those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.

If you’re one of roughly 6.8 million adults in the U.S. who struggle with chronic worry and nervousness—medically known as generalized anxiety disorder—you may be seeking different techniques or therapies to alleviate these symptoms.

A recent clinical trial found that yoga is a helpful option for people who experience anxiety. The August 2020 study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine explored yoga’s effectiveness versus a well-established treatment for generalized anxiety disorder and a class about stress management as the control condition.

The researchers compared how study participants fared using Kundalini yoga; cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the gold standard in generalized anxiety care; or stress education.

The study found that Kundalini yoga and CBT were both more effective in reducing anxiety than stress education.

And although CBT achieved the greatest symptom reduction and longer-lasting results in study participants, the new data show that yoga is also a helpful option for lessening anxiety.

“Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments,” says lead study author Naomi M. Simon, MD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan.”

Dr. Simon also spoke in greater length about the study and generalized anxiety disorder in a recent conversation with Steven Hodak, MD, on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio, and also the JAMA Psychiatry Author Interview podcast.