Sometimes a slice of late night chocolate cake or a tub of salted caramel ice cream is the only way to bookend a not-so-stellar day - but if that's how every single day ends it's definitely time for a life lift. Putting the spring back in your step and taking the cake out of your diet is actually surprisingly easy according to a couple of new studies on depression presented at a recent meeting of The American Psychological Association. You just need to hit the hot yoga studio.

New Scientist reports one study looked at "52 women with signs of depression, including high stress levels and unhealthy dieting patterns... and found those who tried Bikram hot yoga experienced significant improvement."

How the study worked was, "27 women... attended two classes per week for eight weeks and the control group of 25 did no yoga. By the end of the study, the average decrease in stress and emotional eating in those who attended classes was almost three times that of the women who'd done no yoga at all."

The study further found that, "...the yoga group also focused less on negative feelings and their causes, and were better at not suppressing positive emotions."

The other study involving 29 adults (mostly women) with "mild to moderate symptoms of depression" found similar results with, "...participants attending an average of eight weekly classes of Bikram hot yoga, and show(ing) significant improvement afterwards." 

This second study's author, Maren Nyer from Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, "...thinks yoga may work by rebalancing two parts of our nervous system... the part responsible for rest and relaxation and the nervous system that controls arousal and fight-or-flight responses."

A couple of hot downward dogs and warrior ones for a healthy, happy life? Add to weekly routine now.

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