Meghan Markle is a big fan of hot yoga, which has been proven to aid symptoms of depression and is an affordable exercise option for many. Meghan Markle is a big fan of a hot yoga class, and for good reason – a recent study has proven that a weekly session can help alleviate symptoms of depression. The findings were so significant that the royal’s favourite exercise class could soon be prescribed as a potential treatment for mental health conditions, rather than relying on anti-depressant drugs.
Eighty patients took part in clinical trials which saw them undertaking yoga in hot and humid conditions, with 44 percent reporting lower symptoms to the extent their depression was considered in remission. Dr Maren Nyer of Harvard Medical School, who was leading the study, told the Mirror: “Yoga and heat-based interventions could potentially provide a non-medication-based approach for depression.” However Dr David Mischoulon of Massachusetts General Hospital added that more research was needed to determine the benefits of heated yoga vs non-heated yoga.
Participants in the trial were split into two groups, with one half being offered the yoga classes while the others were put on a ‘waiting list’. Those who took part in the classes received an average of 10 90-minute sessions of Bikram yoga at 40.5C (105F), which after eight weeks had a noticeable impact on their mental health. Researchers found that 59 percent reported a 50 percent or greater fall in their depression symptoms, compared with just 6.3 percent who reported a fall on the waiting list. Gyms and studios around London offer drop-in yoga sessions at an average of £20 per class, with the cheapest starting from as little as £14.
Hotpod Yoga runs its classes at a toasty 37C and is inspired by vinyasa flow, with regular sessions held all around the capital in Belgravia, Dulwich, Brixton, Hackney and Notting Hill. Fierce Grace also hosts 90-minute sessions starting at £20 per class in various locations, while Yogahaven offers different levels, including sessions for beginners, in Clapham, Islington and Richmond. The Duchess of Sussex’s love of yoga was inspired by her mother Doria Ragland, who is a professional yoga instructor.
In December 2016, Meghan told Women’s Health: “I love an intense vinyasa class – and even better if it’s blasting hip-hop and done in a dark room with candlelight. The best! I’ll do yoga a couple of times a week – hot yoga specifically.”
She also previously told Best Health Magazine: “I was very resistant as a kid, but [my mum] said, ‘Flower, you will find your practice – just give it time.’ “In college, I started doing it more regularly.”