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Around 264 million adults suffer from anxiety, worldwide. When you think about it- it becomes obvious that anxiety is a worldwide epidemic, and while clinicians and patients alike are quick to jump on the bandwagon of medicine, science offers other solutions as well.

First and foremost, let me say that this article is not anti-medication. If you are on medicine, and it is working for you, that is great. However, as someone who has dealt with mental health struggles (specifically anxiety) throughout my adult life, I know that medicine just doesn’t work for some of us. Thankfully, as more and more awareness is drawn to ending the stigma behind mental illness, we are becoming more aware of various methods of alternative treatments for anxiety. And, even if your medication does work, it doesn’t hurt to add other coping skills to your toolbox.

Over the years, there have been many studies that have pointed to an unconventional anxiety treatment: yoga. Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine set out to understand how yoga can benefit those suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder. What they found was that yoga is extremely beneficial in treating the disorder.

“Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments,” explained study author Naomi M. Simon, MD. “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.”

“Many people already seek complementary and alternative interventions, including yoga, to treat anxiety,” says Dr. Simon. “This study suggests that, at least short-term, there is significant value for people with a generalized anxiety disorder to give yoga a try to see if it works for them. Yoga is well-tolerated, easily accessible, and has several health benefits.”

Additionally, Simon explains that in the future, we may see more research aiming to decipher who would benefit most from which treatment, knowing that not all treatments have a one size fits all approach. Simon even concedes that medication simply isn’t right for most, while almost all can benefit from yoga.

“We need more options to treat anxiety because different people will respond to different interventions, and having more options can help overcome barriers to care,” she says. “Having a range of effective treatments can increase the likelihood people with anxiety will be willing to engage in evidence-based care.”