The popularity of yoga in the general community, and with a variety of clinical populations, suggest something of its effectiveness, and many people claim extraordinary (and life-saving) benefits. However, yoga is an umbrella term which encompasses a vast history of teachings, and a wide range of different approaches and techniques. It is often difficult to navigate through the various styles and approaches; which ones are more suitable for different people with differing needs; with further consideration of potential adverse effects. Along with the popularity of yoga, a growing body of clinical research, including several systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials, suggests potential mental health benefits.
However, differences in approaches used in various studies makes it difficult to draw conclusions that can be generalised or applied to specific population groups. This presentation will explore on the research related to yoga as a mind-body intervention for mental health, and consider possibilities for developing an evidence-based intervention approaches. This includes a consideration of the way that yoga is or could be taught for different individuals and groups, including survivors of torture or refugee trauma. In particular, evidence will be presented from our own clinical trial that evaluated the effectiveness of individualised yoga for reducing depression and anxiety.