Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Medical Science (MMSc)

First Advisor

Emily Sharp, PhD, ABPP


Major depressive disorder is one of the most common and burdensome psychiatric disorders. Many individuals still experience symptoms despite pharmacological treatment. Breathing techniques have shown potential for stress, depression, and anxiety reduction. A second promising treatment are mindfulness-based interventions, which have been shown to effectively decrease depression with fewer side effects than pharmacological agents. Both interventions are accessible via remote instruction. This study will investigate the effect of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga breathwork on depression symptoms. Using a prospective, randomized controlled trial, subjects will receive Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or standard care for 8-weeks. We will measure changes in depressive symptoms using two validated depression inventories and will examine their effects on selected brain regions using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. These results may guide an integrative approach for depression, expanding current options through a low-cost, low-risk, and accessible behavioral intervention adjunctive to concurrent pharmacological treatment.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access