You can use yoga to calm yourself after a long day of work or errands, but is the regimen as effective in relieving mental pressure when stressors are immense, inexorable and even life-threatening? A study published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica looked into this idea.
Research conducted by psychologists in India and the U.S. determined that engaging in yoga-based breathing exercises can help survivors of natural disasters reduce their risk of developing depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
They came to this conclusion after asking 183 tsunami survivors to regularly use calming breathing techniques for up to 24 weeks.
All participants had survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the epicenter of which was off the west coast of Sumatra.
Shortly after the mass disaster, which claimed 230,000 lives, CNN News reported that the earthquake was the third-most powerful temblor ever recorded, registering at between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale, causing the whole planet to wobble by as much as a centimeter.
After surviving such a horrific event, the participants noted that deep breathing calmed them down. Researchers said that 60 percent of volunteers saw a decrease in their PTSD ratings, and 90 percent displayed fewer signs of depression after the intervention.