The Effects of Yoga on Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Effects of Yoga on Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Every single person on this planet has been impacted in some way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic, and people are still feeling effects at a physical, mental, spiritual, social and economic levels.

The past few years have been stressful, to say the least.

COVID has caused an enormous amount of stress, anxiety, depression and suffering for most people and still, we are faced with the ongoing effects of economic uncertainty, potential recession and anxiety about the future.

Yoga, COVID and Mental Health Research

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, one in five Americans reported struggling with mental health issues because of the pandemic. These included suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and predominantly affected ages 18-29 and minority communities (Verma & Misra, 2022).

How has yoga helped people during this time, and what are some of the ongoing benefits that yoga can have on our mental health and well-being?

In India, the Ministry of AYUSH (a government body responsible for developing education and the research and propagation of traditional medicine systems) recommended that citizens practice thirty minutes of yoga a day during the pandemic (Khanal et al., 2022). This included yoga asana, pranayama and meditation along with additional recommendations such as oil pulling and nasal oil application (ayurvedic techniques).

During the past two years case studies looking at the effects of yoga on mental health during the pandemic have been conducted and there have been positive results.

In Japan, a study on the effects of yoga using YouTube classes on mental health for both male and female public interest workers yielded positive results. The study consisted of 82 participants of which 60 participants responded to the survey at the end of the 9-week study.

The participants were given a 30-minute YouTube yoga video to follow as many times as they liked each week for 9 weeks. After the ninth-week participants were asked to take a survey about their physical functioning, psychological state, the number of classes they did, positive and negative aspects of the class and any changes in life.

The study concluded that practicing yoga for nine weeks on YouTube can improve workers’ mental health despite being in the middle of the pandemic (Iwazaki et al., 2021).

Another study was held by a group of researchers from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University in Karnataka, India.

They created a survey on google and distributed it via social media in May 2020.

Two groups were analyzed, the Yoga Group which had 9,840 participants and the Non-Yoga Group which had 3,377 participants.

Their findings from the survey showed the yoga group to be relying less on substances to help with anxiety and stress. They were more goal-oriented, less insecure and better caring towards others. They also reported good physical strength and endurance. Whereas the non-yoga group reported higher levels of anxiety and fear and a poor quality of sleep (Nagarathna et al., 2021).

My Experience

During the past two years, I personally have found that practicing yogic techniques have been beneficial for my mental health.

The beauty of yoga is that it helps us tap into our inner knowing and clarity.

When practicing yoga we can feel what is right for us in every moment, cultivating presence and creating a feeling of calm, groundedness and stability in life.

Apr 10, 2023

Rose Hill

Rose Hill (she/her) is a mother, a student and a teacher of yoga.

Rose and her partner facilitate yoga teacher trainings in Australia and they are currently creating an eco retreat near Crescent Head, Australia. She is also a Mental Health Aware Yoga graduate.

She loves to be away from the world, living close to nature and creating a sustainable way of life.


The 60 hour online Mental Health Aware Yoga training is now closed for registration.

Get started today with the 6-hour self paced Introduction to Yoga + Mental Health short course.

And the best part?

It's only $97.


Western Psychology

Western Psychology

Yoga Psychology

Yoga Psychology

Safe Container

Safe Container

Therapeutic Skills

Therapeutic Skills

Yogic Practices

Yoga Practices

Mental Health Crisis

Mental Health Crisis


Are you on Facebook?

Awesome, so are we!

Come and join our brilliant community of like-mind Yoga Teachers and tune into (mostly) weekly video episodes with our founder Dr Lauren Tober.

It's all happening over in our FREE Facebook group.

Mental Health Aware Yoga Facebook Group
Dr Lauren Tober

Hi, I'm Dr Lauren Tober!

As a Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Teacher of nearly two decades, I'm passionate about integrating yoga and psychology on the mat, in the counselling room and in the world.

With the growing interest in mental health and yoga, yoga students are attending yoga classes for the mental health benefits in unprecedented numbers.

In fact, 79.4% of yoga students report practicing yoga for the mental health benefits.

It's important that Yoga Teachers know how to support them.

I'm glad you're here.

  Visit my website .
  Come say hi on Insta


Be the first to hear about online and world wide in-person trainings BEFORE registration opens

Receive your invitation to join our closed Mental Health Aware Yoga Facebook group for teachers

Download the Patañjali's Eight Limbs of Mental Health Aware Yoga ebook by Dr Lauren Tober

Eight Limbs of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras ebook

FAQs      |    Our Team   |    Partnership Program    |    Media    |   Course Login  |   BACK TO TOP