Yoga: A breath of relief for Hurricane Katrina refugees



Hurricane Katrina survivors need help rebuilding their mental health as well as their homes and lives. That’s why 17 teachers trained in a disaster-specific yoga breathing intervention traveled South just days after the storm.


Yoga-based trauma relief programs are a cost-effective way to rapidly relieve post traumatic stress symptoms and depression in populations affected by disasters. Experience from the 2001 World Trade Centre attacks and December 2004 tsunami show these programs can help patients of all ages, with minimal risk.


This article describes two programs shown to ameliorate anxiety, depression, insomnia, hyperarousal and re-experiencing (flashbacks) in survivors of war, terrorism, and natural disasters. We present a neurophysiologic model to explain how yoga breathing could have these effects.


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