TAMPA (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - For millions of Americans saddled with depression and prescription medications have been the only solution offered to them. But some researchers think a yoga mat may be just as effective.
Anji Kozikowski knows all too well about singing the blues.
"For me it always ends up being so many major life changes all at one time," Kozikowski says. "Moving into a new job role, moving into a new city, a divorce."
Darby Tropf calls her dark days "mommy anxiety."
"It would just be consuming worry that would last for days," says Tropf. "I couldn't sleep. What if a hurricane? Just crazy stuff and it was driving me crazy."
Depression is not an equal opportunity disabler targeting women more than men.
"Life is stressful," Kozikowski says.
Studies show certain breathing exercises and postures drop stress hormone levels while lifting feel-good hormones.
"Yoga has provided me with the relaxation and the tools to get back to equilibrium if you will," says Kozikowski.
But yoga isn't a quick fix. Researchers say it can take up to eight months to see and feel changes. Now, Kozikowski is teaching yoga, trying to convert her depression into vitality.
"We want to transform that by giving them more movement and opening the heart and opening the body," Kozikowski explains.
Yoga instructor Dana Santas says a simple power pose for two minutes can help. And a Harvard study backs this up.
Santas says, "I know when you are feeling depressed, it takes a lot of effort, and I acknowledge that, but when you know that it's only going to take two minutes, can you do this?"
Some experts emphasize that attending a class, and drawing on the energy in the room, is more beneficial for those dealing with depression than practicing alone. Sometimes, though, getting to class may be too much for a depressed person, and a home practice may be a more realistic daily goal.