Yoga has become a popular way of staying fit, but the history of this movement goes beyond weight management--it's actually a religious practice that aims to unify of the body, the spirit, and the mind, and a recent study on TIME seems to strengthen this age-old belief.

Researchers from the Duke Medical Center in the US reviewed over a hundred studies in order to find out what kind relation this physical practice has to the mind. They found that more than its calming effect, yoga also helps diminish mild depression and sleep problems, as well as "improve the symptoms of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD among patients using medication."

Some of the studies also pointed out that yoga may have similar effects to antidepressants and therapy, influencing chemical processes in the brain that boosts feel-good agents such as seratonin.

This doesn't mean though that people with depression should skip medications and just focus on yoga. Experts recommend a blend of both. Moreover, the psychiatric benefits go beyond those with conditions--even those who are stressed with work may take a breather by doing yoga. Check out GIRLTalk to learn from the experiences of our yoga-loving FNites.

(Photo by GoToVan via Flickr Creative Commons)

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