Yoga for PTSD

Exercise has been shown to help improve a variety of  mental health conditions (1, 2).

A recent study wanted to see if  yoga can help with  Post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD (3).

What is PTSD (4)?

According to the National Institute of Mental health (PTSD) (4):

What was the study (3)?

After filtering through over 12,000 results, a review of 66 studies and 24 controlled studies were meta-analyzed.

What were the results (3)?

  • The review showed that both mindfulness and YOGA benefited ptsd symptoms regardless of the type of trauma experienced (3).
  • Benefit was greater if yoga or mindfulness was done more than 8 weeks (3).

How much and how often should yoga be done to benefit ptsd?

There is evidence supporting yoga done 1-2 times per week for 60 to 75 minutes per session to benefit PTSD (5).

What are some caveats?

  • There are many forms of yoga.  Students may find some forms of yoga more helpful than others.
  • Check with your healthcare provider to make sure that doing yoga is safe and appropriate for you.

Additional resources regarding Yoga:

  • Yoga classes through your school
  • Online resources for yoga
  • Yoga classes in the community such as:  gym, health and fitness club, yoga center or YMCA, community or religious organization, etc.

What are some precautions?

  • It may be best to check with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you’re to start an exercise program.
  • Individuals with a history of disordered eating or disordered exercise should check with their health professional before exercising.
  • It may be wise to stop exercise and seek professional help if you notice:
    • Increased depression, disordered eating, and other mental health concerns due to exercise.
    • Injury, pain, or decreased motivation
    • Obsessive behaviors
    • Other symptoms.
  • Exercise may not help without proper nutrition, so it may be wise to learn about proper nutrition and proper exercise technique, and exercise/nutrition plans, before starting to exercise.
  • It may be helpful to gradually start exercising to give yourself time to adjust to an active lifestyle.
  • It might take weeks months or longer for some people to get used to and enjoy the minimum activity guidelines.
  • Occasional weeks without exercise or light activity may be important to prevent injury.
  • Figuring out what works best for you may give you lasting benefits.

If you like this email, please share with others and or enter your email above to be notified of future posts.

By Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  1. Patel R. Mental Health For College Students Chapter 9: Exercise strategies to improve mental health
  1. Taylor, J., McLean, L., Korner, A., Stratton, E., & Glozier, N. (2020). Mindfulness and yoga for psychological trauma: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation21(5), 536–573.
  3. Yoga for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and Substance Abuse: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2015 Jun 22. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE. Available from: