Treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder With Yoga


Natural, holistic treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are becoming more popular as traditional drug therapies can only provide temporary relief for some people with the condition.

Various forms of yoga — a mind-body practice that integrates movement and breath — may help to alleviate symptoms of OCD while also providing individuals with a more relaxed disposition and better control over their thoughts.

How stillness helps

Most traditional yoga involves either active or passive meditation. Active meditation involves being aware and concentrated on a mantra or calming thought through movement during yoga poses, while passive meditation involves sitting or lying down and deliberating slowing the body down through deep breathing.

Slowing down and creating stillness in the body while also emptying the mind can help people with OCD become more aware of their thoughts. With awareness of thoughts comes better control of thoughts.

Some alternative health practitioners believe that creating deliberate relaxation in the body will help the mind to stay calm as well, which can be helpful for those suffering from compulsive and obsessive thoughts that then translate into behaviors.


One study found that mindfulness meditation - a technique that involves being aware of thoughts without judging or creating a "story" about them - helped OCD patients improve symptoms after three months.

In another small trial, kundalini yoga - a type of yoga that uses energy movement - was also shown to be effective for OCD sufferers.

Another study found that a combination of yoga, breathing and chanting for 40 minutes helped patients reduce their OCD symptoms after 45 sessions.

Emotional release

Yoga can also bring out strong experiences of emotional catharsis, where practitioners spontaneously find themselves laughing or crying. According to yoga teachers, this is the body's process of releasing stored emotional energy through physical movement.

Because OCD can often be triggered by emotional stressors or significant trauma, yoga may help to release some of this pain that is "stored" in the body on a cellular level.

Source: NYU Medical Center

ocd self test
Do you or a loved one feel like you might have a problem with OCD? Take the Self Test now to get more information.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Click here to read our complete Terms of Use.

Susbscribe to our free newsletter for information & inspiration

Email Social