Presentation Title

Heated Yoga for the Treatment of Anxious Depression


Patients with anxious depression are at greater risk for functional impairment, relapse, and poor outcomes (Fava et al., 2008; Ramana et al., 1995). Yoga shows promise as an intervention for symptoms of depression (Uebelacker et al., 2010) and anxiety (Cabral, Meyer, & Ames, 2011). We investigated the effectiveness of heated yoga for individuals with anxious depression. Twenty-nine adults with a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17) score of = 10 were asked to attend heated yoga classes at least twice weekly for 8 weeks. Anxious depression was categorized using the Anxiety/Somatization items of the HAMD-17, which was completed at baseline and endpoint. We performed a modified-intent-to-treat analysis; last observation carried forward (LOCF) was used to manage early terminations. The number of participants who met criteria for anxious depression decreased from 14 (48.3%) at baseline to 1 (5.9%) at endpoint, which was not explained by lower attendance rates among anxiously-depressed individuals: F(1, 27) = 1.678, p = .206. Controlling for attendance, participants with anxious depression had a greater although non-significant decrease in total HAMD-17 scores than participants without anxious depression: F(1, 25) = 3.555, p = .071. Attendance significantly predicted lower Anxiety/Somatization scores at endpoint after controlling for baseline Anxiety/Somatization scores: b = -.563, t(25) = -3.571 , p = .001. Attendance explained a significant proportion of variance of Anxiety/Somatization scores: adjusted R2 = .338=, F(2, 25) = 7.897, p = .002 . Effect sizes were large (d = 0.84, r = 0.34) despite a small sample size. Heated yoga may represent an effective treatment strategy for people with anxious depression, given its potential to reduce symptoms of both depression and anxiety.