Yoga Interventions: A Research Brief

Yoga Interventions

A Research Brief 

Executive Summary

Yoga has evolved from an ancient practice in India to a popular health trend in the United States and Europe. As yoga has grown and spread, it has multiplied into diverse styles practiced for distinct purposes. Despite such broad variations, practitioners of almost all types of yoga report increased wellbeing. There is a growing evidence supporting such claims, but most findings are still tentative given the relatively recent rapid expansion of yoga research since 2000. Research does show that yoga is a feasible, practical, low-risk intervention as a complementary therapy for many physical and mental health conditions.

This brief provides an overview of the current state of research on yoga interventions, for mental, physical, and cardiovascular health and for autoimmune and other disorders. These interventions may be particularly beneficial for the elderly, though they should be practiced with caution by vulnerable groups. Yoga is an adaptable practice—it may be done seated in a chair or lying on the floor— and so far there is little evidence to suggest that one style is better or more effective overall than others. Additionally, few adverse events from yoga interventions have been reported.

Research on yoga interventions has become more rigorous over time, with an increase in randomized, controlled trials and improved reporting on yoga style and “dosage”; nonetheless, methodological challenges persist. Yoga may be a particularly difficult topic to study compared to typical medical interventions, given the difficulty of defining yoga styles and “dosages”, the reliance on self-reporting, and methodological variety. Researchers will continue to refine their methodology, as well as expand the study of yoga into other areas such as in connection with children, less common conditions, and issues of cost-effectiveness and cultural perceptions.


The ancient practice of yoga is rooted in Indian philosophy and spirituality thousands of years old. Over the past decades, yoga has been adapted into a modern secular practice popular in the United States and increasingly of interest for health and wellness. Modern yoga is a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation, concentration, and relaxation. According to a 2016 study, about 11% of U.S. adults had practiced yoga that year and about 28% had practiced yoga at least once in their lives.1 About 80% of them reported starting yoga explicitly to improve their health.2

Research on medical yoga interventions is expanding to determine if yoga yields benefits beyond increased flexibility and muscle tone and may be used as a preventative measure and a treatment for a range of medical conditions. Compared to pharmaceutical treatments, yoga may be more appealing because it’s less invasive and may be safer and have fewer side effects. Yoga may be particularly useful as an intervention for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes because they are attributed, in part, to lifestyle factors, including tobacco use, lack of exercise, and stress.3 While more research is needed, yoga appears to help reduce inflammation, stress, and depression. Yoga may also improve blood glucose levels, cardiovascular function, hormone regulation, and self-confidence. 

In this brief we provide an overview and critical evaluation of the latest research on yoga as a mental and physical health intervention. These studies cover a breadth of topics and involve a variety of methods. While offering many promising findings, this diversity is also a weakness. Greater standardization of studies with more rigorous procedures and reporting would offer more conclusive evidence of yoga’s benefits. Following our summary of key findings, we discuss future research directions in the field.

Key Findings

Research on yoga as a medical intervention is rapidly growing. Over 200 studies have been published yearly since 2011.4 A total of 29 different countries have hosted such studies, but India leads the way with twice as many published research articles on yoga as the United States.5 These studies have explored a wide range of topics, the most common of which include yoga as treatment for depression, anxiety, low back pain, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, and elderly fitness. About 85% of published studies involved adults who report to have medical conditions.6 Although this research has covered 52 different styles of yoga, Hatha yoga (a category of yoga styles that focus on poses, the body, and alignment) has been most popular intervention, used in 11% of the studies. The median length of yoga interventions studied was nine weeks.7

The findings shared below are grouped into five categories of health and wellness concerns for which yoga has been studied as an intervention: (1) mental health, (2) physical health, (3) cardiovascular health, (4) autoimmune diseases, and (5) other diseases. Many of these findings indicate positive trends, but they are tentative or inconclusive due to study limitations, including design, sample size, and methodology.  We fully discuss these limitations and provide a critical evaluation of the current body of research.

Yoga and Mental Health

Yoga has a positive effect on mental health, but there are conflicting findings on the significance of this effect.8 While research is limited and efficacy varies, yoga offers some benefit in treating mental illness.

The impact of yoga on overall mental health and as a treatment for mental illness has become a topic of great popular and clinical interest over the past 15 years.9 Yoga practitioners typically report a positive effect on their mental health as a result of their practice, and research tends to confirm that yoga impacts participants’ psychological wellbeing and may increase their levels of self-compassionand self-esteemand their relaxation and coping skills.10 Yoga also may help practitioners increase or maintain their ability to thrive despite adversity—i.e., their resilience.11 While research suggest that practicing yoga does impart some mental health benefits, however, a meta-analysis of many of these studies found that yoga had no statistically significant effect on improving overall life satisfaction or social relationships, based on a cumulative analysis of randomized controlled trials.12

Regarding mental illness, Research shows yoga may be effective as an acceptable, feasible, practical, and low-risk intervention, but evidence for this is inconclusive and depends on the illness.13 Studies have shown yoga may be most successful as a treatment for depression, but its effect is comparable to exercise and medication.14 Findings show that yoga, similar to other forms of exercise, may decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn leads to a decrease in depression.15 Similarly, practicing yoga may alleviate perinatal depression.16

There is a paucity of research on yoga as a treatment for other mental health conditions and results have been limited; however, there is some evidence supporting yoga as a primary or ancillary treatment for ADHD; anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorders ; post-traumatic stress disorder; and distress-related overeating.17

The lack of conclusive evidence related to yoga and mental health may be surprising given all the popular anecdotes about the benefits of yoga, but length constraints in research studies may be one reason for the limited findings. For example, some studies suggest that the mental health benefit of yoga is cumulative over time and therefore may not be evident in a study lasting only two months.18 Another article suggests that the research process is complicated by a seasonal increase in anxiety and depression during the winter, which “buffers” positive findings.19 Another possibility is that the models of positive mental health typically used in psychological assessments don’t adequately account for the kind personal attributes rooted in yoga philosophy, such as meaning, wisdom, and detachment.20


Yoga and Physical Health

Yoga is a beneficial medical intervention for many physical conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, and insomnia and is particularly promising as a treatment in elderly populations. Its impact on physical health may be attributed to reduced pain and inflammation and increased strength, flexibility, and cognitive function.

Modern yoga has many physical benefits similar to exercise, and, for the elderly, it may be superior to other forms of exercise for building aerobic fitness and strength, balance, and mobility.21 Across the adult lifespan, types of yoga based on stretching, such as Thai yoga and Hatha yoga, increase overall flexibility and, notably, spine flexibility.22 Yoga is widely regarded as an effective treatment for low back pain, for both decreasing pain and restoring functionality over time.23 Yoga is also a beneficial intervention for other inflammatory conditions of the soft tissues, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, and kyphosis.24 Yoga’s success in treating these physical conditions may be attributed in part to increased strength from the practice, especially from the more athletic forms of yoga such as Vinyasa yoga and Power yoga.25

Also, the deep intentional breathing that accompanies yoga practice--called yogic breathing--even when practiced without physical poses has been shown to improve respiratory muscle.26

Modern yoga has not been shown to lead to significant weight loss or a decrease in body fat percentage for healthy adults; however, adopting a traditional yogic lifestyle, including a vegetarian diet and a regular daily yoga practice over a long duration, may have a greater effect on weight and body composition.27 For overweight and obese people, practicing yoga can reduce body mass index.28

Exercise in general is not only good for the body, but also good for the brain, and because of its emphasis on active attention during physical poses and yogic breathing, yoga may yield even greater cognitive function benefits than other forms of exercise.29 For example, across several studies on the impact of Hatha yoga, healthy adults showed improvement in self-control, working memory, attention, and processing speed.30 While fewer studies have been done on children and adolescents, yoga seems promising for fostering the self-discipline necessary for academic success.31 Yoga doesn’t only impact brain function during the daytime; it may help the brain relax during the nighttime. For older adults, yoga has been shown as an effective intervention for increasing sleep quality, sleep quantity and efficiency, and self-assessed feelings of well-restedness.32 For a wider population, yoga is beneficial for improving sleep, including in people with insomnia and cancer; however, yoga may be less impactful in cases of severe insomnia and with respect to less athletic types of yoga.33

Beyond enhanced flexibility and strength, there are several other explanations for the impact of yoga as a medical intervention on physical conditions. One explanation is that yoga improves cognitive function and that increased mind-body awareness, self-confidence, and sleep from practicing yoga reduces pain.34 In a related study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), experienced yoga practitioners showed increased brain grey matter, correlating with increased cognitive function, compared to people who did not practice yoga, and this enabled the experienced practitioners to tolerate pain more than twice as long as the non-practitioners.35

A second explanation for yoga’s impact on physical health is based on brain chemistry. Practicing yoga increases levels of serotonin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor proteins that reduce depression, but also reduces chronic pain by lessening the sensory nervous system’s response to stimulation.36

A third explanation is based on decreased inflammation. Similar to other forms of exercise, practicing yoga decreases unhealthy inflammation that causes pain; significantly, this effect can be achieved at lower levels of yoga-related physical activity than with other forms of exercise.37

Yoga and Cardiovascular Health

Practicing yoga promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease; it is as effective as exercise for lowering blood pressure and improving lipoprotein levels. Yoga may be particularly beneficial for at-risk populations as a safe, low-impact intervention.

Cardiovascular health is linked to mental and physical health; as such, the findings discussed in the previous two sections on yoga as a medical intervention for mental and physical health have relevance on cardiovascular health as well.38 Cardiovascular health also has its own set of risk factors, including blood pressure, heart rate, lipids levels, and insulin resistance, which have drawn attention in medical yoga research as cardiovascular disease mortality rates have increased.39 Researchers find that on average the effect of yoga is comparable or superior to common physician-endorsed interventions such as exercise or lifestyle changes for mitigating cardiovascular disease risk factors.40

Yoga primarily helps to reduce cardiovascular disease risk by reducing blood pressure. For example, it has been used an intervention for people with prehypertension--which is elevated blood pressure at a level that indicates a risk for developing actual hypertension, i.e., abnormally high blood pressure. As a pre-hypertension treatment, yoga helps reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people over 40 years old.41 Studies have also shown yoga to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure as a hypertension treatment; studies show it’s more effective than prescribed drug treatments and that active forms are as effective as general exercise.42 These benefits are attributed to increased parasympathetic activity, which counteracts excessive activity in the sympathetic nervous system.43

Practicing yoga also lowers the heart rate.44 In one study, 13 participants lowered their blood pressure to normal rates after three months of lifestyle changes and practicing yoga, compared to only four participants in another group who only made lifestyle changes during that time; another study showed yoga to be more effective in lowering diastolic blood pressure than non-aerobic exercise.45

Another way that yoga has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease risk is by reducing metabolic syndrome indicators, a cluster of factors linked to insulin resistance which precedes cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. These factors are fasting blood glucose, waist circumference (or abdominal obesity), blood pressure, high-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides; related factors include respiratory rate, waist/hip ratio, total cholesterol, glycated hemoglobin, and insulin resistance.46 The variety of conditions and the variety of yoga treatments makes it impossible to draw a simple conclusion, but consistently across studies, practicing yoga is better than no treatment and better than typical lifestyle modifications in healthy and at-risk populations.47 Compared to exercise, practicing yoga resulted in greater improvements in high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, and very low-density lipoproteins.48 As treatment for these conditions, a higher “dosage” of yoga—practicing more frequently, for more minutes at a time—had greater effect than a lower “dosage” over more weeks or months.49

The beneficial impact of yoga on cardiovascular health makes it an attractive option for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, particularly for at-risk populations. Older adults, for example, have increased risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome indicators, but only 8% of older adults meet safety guidelines for prescribing aerobic and strengthening physical activity to lower that risk.50 Yoga appears to provide a low-impact, safe alternative to exercise for improving blood pressure, body composition, glucose, lipids, endurance, and strength in older adults.51 Another at-risk population for cardiovascular disease are people with Type 2 diabetes. They experience similar benefits from practicing yoga as healthy people, with the greatest improvement in lipoprotein levels; there is also evidence that practicing yoga and yogic-style breathing increases quality of life and self-discipline in people with Type 2 diabetes, which aids them in managing the disease, including glucose levels.52 Some research has been done on African American women, an at-risk population for metabolic syndrome, and across studies, yoga shows positive effects on blood pressure, body weight, stress, and anxiety. More research is needed, however.53


Yoga and Autoimmune Disorders

While yoga will not cure chronic autoimmune disorders, it does help patients manage symptoms; significantly for these conditions, practicing yoga lowers unhealthy inflammation and stress.

Autoimmune disorders are chronic conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy cells as if they are foreign bacteria or viruses. Autoimmune disorder cases are now increasing, making prevention and treatment more important, but the cause for this increase is unclear. Research suggests the rise may be related to chemical environmental factors; high-fat, high-sugar, highly processed foods; and/or decreased microbial exposure.54

There are over 80 autoimmune disorders with a diverse range of symptoms, but many of them are linked to unhealthy inflammation. As previously mentioned, yoga has been shown to help reduce inflammation even more effectively than exercise.55 Yoga also may help sufferers of these disorders by reducing stress, which aggravates the condition.56 This brief has already touched on yoga interventions related to two autoimmune disorders— rheumatoid arthritis and Type 2 diabetes. Below are findings on select additional autoimmune disorders.

Multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and chronic fatigue

These  autoimmune disorders affect the entire body and have some shared symptoms: fatigue, pain, depression, impaired mobility, and impaired cognition. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common of these disorders, impacting over 2.3 million people worldwide.57 MS is also the most studied, including with respect to yoga as a medical intervention. Across such studies, yoga showed greater improvements to fatigue and mood symptoms than conventional care, and compared to exercise, practicing yoga yielded a higher quality of life and faster reaction time in cognitive testing.58

Similar results were found for yoga and fibromyalgia. Compared to conventional treatment and other meditative movement therapies (tai chi and qigong), yoga led to significant improvements in pain, fatigue, depression, and overall quality of life; however, the small number of studies weakens the strength of these findings.59 Likewise, for lupus and chronic fatigue, yoga appears to be promising as complementary treatment for symptoms, but more studies are needed.60

COPD and asthma

These belong to a group of autoimmune disorders that target particular systems within the body. In the case of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it’s the cardiovascular system. While the causes of asthma and COPD are different, the symptoms are the same: chronic coughing and wheezing from airway hypersensitivity and shortness of breath. Evidence suggests that yoga helps control these symptoms in both disorders. In asthma, for both children and adults, yoga has been shown to increase lung function, forced expiratory volume, and quality of life sufficiently enough for yoga to serve as an ancillary treatment.61 With COPD, yoga has been correlated with increased lung function, forced expiratory volume, and physical activity capability sufficiently enough for it to become an ancillary treatment.62 For both asthma and COPD, the benefits of yoga can be attributed in part to yogic-style deep breathing, which increases respiratory stamina and calms the sympathetic nervous system.63 More research on these disorders could strengthen the findings.

Disorders affecting specific organs

These disorders include those that target the gastrointestinal tract, such as inflammatory bowel symptom (IBS) and diseases (IBD), and the thyroid, such as Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease. For IBS and related autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, studies show that practicing yoga is as effective as medication for managing pain and anxiety while building self-efficacy and quality of life; however, it does not reduce disease activity.64 This research has focused mostly on adults with IBS and IBD, and while some work has been done on children and adolescents, those findings are more limited despite the potential for yoga as a safe adjunct therapy.65

For thyroid diseases, including hyperthyroidism as in Grave’s disease and hypothyroidism in Hashimoto’s disease, research shows an intensive yoga practice may help to reduce stress and regulate the thyroid-stimulating hormone.66 Particular poses and breathing exercises that compress and extend the throat may be most effective, based on these studies’ recommendations. While these findings are speculative, they indicate that yoga may be a safe complementary therapy.


Yoga and Other Disorders

The research on yoga as a medical intervention for a wide range of other disorders, conditions, and capabilities generally shows positive results.


For people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA), yoga may be a particularly powerful complementary therapy for treating the side effects of antiretroviral medication. Short- and long- term side effects are extensive and are a primary reason patients discontinue treatment.67 Most studies show that yoga helps PLWHA manage side effects and symptoms, including chronic pain, stress, substance use, depression, physical inactivity, and blood pressure and also improves quality of life.68 A recent review of two such studies, however, found that yoga as a physical activity did not improve functional capacity in terms of strength, cardiovascular fitness, or flexibility of PLWHA.69

There is some evidence that yoga may slow the decline of white blood cells and the progression of HIV by decreasing stress and depression.70


Yoga may also be effective for treating cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. There have been a multitude of studies with a variety of methods used to research this topic across a variety of  ages, types and states of cancer, and cancer treatments. While it’s impossible to draw firm conclusions, there are positive indications that yoga may be an effective adjunct therapy in cancer treatment by reducing depression, anxiety, and psychological distress.71 For breast cancer patients, which a majority of research studies on yoga and cancer have focused on, there is also some evidence that yoga reduces pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, lymphedema-related swelling in the arms, and treatment-related toxicity.72

There have been few studies on pediatric cancer, but tentative results show a correlation between the practice of yoga and decreased anxiety and increased quality of life and functional mobility in children and adolescents.73


Yoga has also been tested as a treatment for aging-related conditions. As mentioned earlier, in regards to physical health, yoga has particular benefits for the elderly. It has been shown to increase the fitness, strength, balance, and mobility of this population, and yoga is more accessible and lower impact than other types of exercise.

In a study on yoga interventions for patients with Parkinson’s disease, a yoga group had similar results to an exercise group for improved balance and sway, and some evidence suggests that yoga improves tremors and motor function in Parkinson’s patients.74 For people with dementia, some studies showed that practicing yoga increased the brain’s grey matter and improved cognitive functioning, in addition to providing other physical and mental health benefits.75 For people with the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, practicing chair yoga was shown to improve physical functioning in moderate and severe cases.76

Family caregivers of people with dementia may benefit from yoga as well--studies indicate yoga may reduce depression and anxiety, improve cognitive functioning, and positively affect stress-related genetic markers among this population.77


Critical Evaluations

There are certainly positive trends in yoga as a medical intervention, but there continue to be research challenges that weaken these findings. These challenges are a result of the field’s rapid growth and diversity. Researchers commonly acknowledge these challenges and note that their work lays the foundation for more robust future studies.

One particular critical evaluation of yoga intervention studies centers on study design. For example, there have been few long-term studies, few large-scale studies, few large sample size studies, few follow-up studies, and few randomized, controlled trials. randomized, controlled trials are well respected in the medical community and considered effective in evaluating new treatments, because they minimize bias by randomly assigning study participants to a control group and an experimental group without the participants’ knowledge. While this type of research on yoga is increasing, participants cannot be made “blind” to yoga interventions (they know they are practicing yoga) in the same way participants in other medical studies might be blind to whether they are taking a an experimental medication or a placebo.

Another limitation is that many studies measure the success of a yoga intervention by comparing pre- and post-tests on the same group of participants or by comparing a yoga intervention to no intervention. While yoga is often superior to no intervention. when compared to an active intervention such as exercise, yoga is not commonly found to be superior.78

There is also the challenge of yoga intervention definitions and “dosages.” There is great variety in yoga and a greater need for studies to accurately describe the yoga intervention, including the yoga style (ranging from purely meditative to purely physical) and its length, frequency, and duration. It appears that different yoga styles yield generally the same treatment effects when compared to each other, but meditation and/or breathing-based yoga styles are more effective for reducing depression and asthma symptoms.79

In sum, methodological variety and inadequate study descriptions complicate efforts to confidently draw conclusions about yoga interventions. Nonetheless, as seen in other areas of medical research, the quality of yoga intervention research has improved over time. Since the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guidelines were released in 2001, reporting of study parameters has improved, but many yoga research studies still fail to report adequate randomization and have unclear or a high risk of selection bias. The trend continues outside the United States where randomized, controlled trials (particularly those from India) tend to be published in complementary and alternative medicine specialty journals or published in journals without or with low impact factors, which are more likely to be biased towards positive results.80 Risk of bias correlates most strongly with publication year and journal impact factor, with more recent studies published in higher impact factor journals having less risk of bias81 This mirrors the larger trend in emergent research fields, that the quality of the research and its reporting improves with time. It may also be that standard CONSORT guidelines are not comprehensive enough for yoga intervention research and that further yoga-specific research and publishing guidelines would improve research quality.82

Research on yoga interventions will also improve with increased attention to safety and the reporting of adverse events. Yoga interventions appear to be as safe as usual care or exercise, with few adverse events from any type, but less than one third of all published studies on yoga interventions include sufficient safety reporting.83 Physically demanding yoga styles such as ashtanga and heated yoga styles such as Bikram have more adverse events, and adverse events are more likely when performing advanced poses such as head stands, shoulder stands, and lotus poses and when engaged in intense yogic breathing exercises, such as kapalabhati.84 People with recent abdominal surgeries, lung, or respiratory conditions should be careful with all intense yogic breathing exercises; people with glaucoma should avoid inversion poses; and people with bipolar disorder and trauma conditions should be aware that some poses may trigger or aggravate their conditions.85 There is also increased risk of adverse events from yoga for the elderly and people with chronic conditions.86 Overall, yoga can safely be recommended as an adjunct treatment, but it should be adapted and practiced with caution by vulnerable populations.

Future Research

A critical evaluation of yoga intervention studies makes clear that future research requires more rigorous methods and reporting, including better randomization, lower risk of bias, more control and comparison groups, longer follow-up periods, larger sample sizes, adequately described interventions and “dosages,” and improved safety reporting. Such improvements will also aid researchers in comparing styles of yoga, comparing yoga to similar exercise, comparing yoga to other contemplative or mindfulness practices, and deepening investigation into the mechanisms of effective yoga interventions. Yoga’s efficacy is explained in part by its correlation with decreasing stress and unhealthy inflammation;  increasing strength, flexibility, and body awareness; and balancing of hormone and cortisol levels; however, more work is necessary to understand the biologic and physiologic causes of these effects. For example, there is some evidence that a yogic lifestyle leads to lengthened telomeres, which are associated with healthy aging and longevity.87

Additionally, future research must expand beyond adults with medical conditions to include children, adolescents, and healthy participants as well. Recent efforts in this regard are already promising. There is a growing research trend to study how yoga can be used in schools to help students manage stress and behavior for academic success. One study speculates that giving young people these mind-body skills will limit stress for them in the future, even as adults.88

Research must also continue to expand to consider a wider range of conditions. For example, most cancer research on yoga interventions focuses specifically on breast cancer, and most autoimmune disorder research on yoga interventions focuses specifically on MS; this research has established relevance and purpose for widening the scope of study to include other cancer types and autoimmune disorders.

Future research should also more closely examine barriers to yoga interventions. Yoga interventions are praised as holistic, natural, and without side effects; this is true, but there are challenges to behavior-based interventions such as yoga, including time constraints, cost, transportation, and childcare. Even practicing yoga at home requires space and limited distractions. Cost-effectiveness is another important concern: one study found health insurance in the United Kingdom covered some yoga interventions for a limited number of conditions, with health insurance in the United States covering fewer yoga interventions on average.89 In the United States, barriers to yoga interventions may also include cultural perceptions of yoga as an activity for white women. This is exacerbated by the fact that white women comprise the majority of study participants—a trend that will continue unless study designers intentionally target other populations.

Conclusions and Implications

Yoga is a feasible, practical, low-risk intervention as a preventative measure and a complementary treatment for many conditions; although, confirming empirical evidence is tentative. While the elderly and those with chronic conditions should take care in beginning a yoga practice, yoga offers an adaptable low-impact alternative to exercise. Increased communication and open conversations among patients, doctors, and yoga instructors about goals, conditions, and concerns will lead to more positive and effective yoga interventions.

Research on yoga interventions is becoming more expansive and rigorous over time with increasing publication of randomized, controlled trials in peer-reviewed, high-impact journals. Future research will include broader demographics and a wider range of target populations, a greater variety of conditions and diseases, and a deeper consideration of barriers.

Yet, additional attention is needed to strengthen current findings, and rapid growth in this research field and the diversity of yoga styles will continue to present methodological and reporting challenges. These challenges mirror “growing pains” in other medical fields, but yoga research may have distinct obstacles that require innovative solutions.

Yoga Styles

Vinyasa yogaa dynamic flow style that links movement and breath, raising the heart rate. 
Lyengar yoga

An anatomy-focused style that uses props, blocks, and straps to create alignment.

Ashtanga yogaA self-paced sequenced style that requires one pose to be mastered before moving onto the next pose.
Hot yogaYoga done in a heated room. One style of hot yoga is Bikram yoga, which is always the same poses done in the same order.
Kundalini yoga              An energy-based style that combines repetitive movement with breath, chanting, and meditation.
Yin yoga and restorative yogaSimilar relaxation styles that use bolsters, blocks, and blankets to release tension in long holds.
Prenatal yogaA style for pregnant women that focuses on preparing for labor and delivery through pelvic floor work, breathing, and bonding with the baby.
New yoga stylesNew yoga styles are emerging all the time, including anusara yoga, Forrest yoga, Jivamukti yoga, Power yoga, and Buti yoga.
Yoga hybrid stylesIncreasingly popular, such as pilates-yoga (PiYo), acrobatics-yoga (AcroYoga), weight-lifting-yoga (Yoga Sculpt), Stand-Up-Paddleboard-yoga, and a wide range of animal-themed yoga classes, where cats, dogs, goats, sloths, etc. may be present.
Hatha yogaA category of yoga styles that focus on poses; the term now also denotes a gentle yoga style that is slow-moving with each pose held for a few breaths.


  1. ^ Yoga Journal & Yoga Alliance. (2016, January). 2016 yoga in American study. Yoga Journal, 1-87. Retrieved from
  2. ^ Cramer, H., Ward, L., Steel, A., Lauche, R., Dobos, G., & Zhang, Y. (2016). Prevalence, patterns, and predictors of yoga use. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 50(2), 230-235.
  3. ^ Khalsa, S.B., Cohen, L., McCall, T., & Telles, S. (2016). Principles and practices of yoga in health care. Handspring Publishing: Scotland, UK.
  4. ^ McCall M.C. (2014). In search of yoga: research trends in a western medical database. International Journal of Yoga, 7(1), 4-8. 10.4103/0973-6131.123470
  5. ^ Jeter, P.E., Slutsky, J., Singh, N., and Khalsa, S.B. (2015). Yoga a therapeutic intervention: a bibliometric analysis of published research studies from 1967 to 2013. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(10), 586-592.
  6. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., & Dobos, G. (2014).Characteristics of randomized controlled trials of yoga: a bibliometric analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(1), 328.
  7. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., & Dobos, G. (2014).Characteristics of randomized controlled trials of yoga: a bibliometric analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(1), 328.
  8. ^ Domingues, R. B. (2018). Modern postural yoga as a mental health promoting tool: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies In Clinical Practice, 31, 248-255; Hendricks, T., de Jong, J., & Cramer, H. (2017). The effects of yoga on positive mental health among healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(7), 505–517.
  9. ^ Büssing, A., Michalsen, A., Khalsa, S.B.S., Telles S., & Sherman K.J. (2012). Effects of yoga on mental and physical health: a short summary of reviews. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1-7.
  10. ^ Bayley-Veloso R. & Salmon P.G. (2016). Yoga in clinical practice. Mindfulness, 7, 308-319; Mathad, M.D., Pradhan, B., & Sasidharan ,R.K. (2017). Effect of yoga on psychological functioning of nursing students: a randomized wait list control trial. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 11(5), 1-5.; Taspinar, B., Aslan, U.B., Agbuga, B., and Taspinar, F. (2014). A comparison of the effects of hatha yoga and resistance exercise on mental health and well-being in sedentary adults: a pilot study. Compl. Ther. Med.,22(3), 433-440. 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.03.007; Riley, K.E., Park, C.L., Wilson, A., Sabo, A.N., Antoni M.H., Braun T.D. … Cope, S. (2017). Improving physical and mental health in frontline mental health care providers: yoga-based stress management versus cognitive behavioral stress management. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 32(1), 26-48.
  11. ^ de Manincor, M., Bensoussan, A., Smith ,C.A., Barr, K., Schweickle, M., Donoghoe, L.L. … Fahey, P. (2016). Individualized yoga for reducing depression and anxiety, and improving well-being: a randomized controlled trial. Depression and Anxiety, 33(9), 816-828.; Khalsa, S.B.S., Hickey-Schultz, L., Cohen, D., Steiner, N., & Cope, S. (2012). Evaluation of the mental health benefits of yoga in a secondary school: a preliminary randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 39(1), 80-90.
  12. ^ Hendricks, T., de Jong, J., & Cramer, H. (2017). The effects of yoga on positive mental health among healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(7), 505–517.
  13. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2013). Yoga for depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and Anxiety, 30(11), 1068–1083.; D’Silva, S., Poscablo, C., Habousha, R., Kogan, M., & Kligler, B. (2012). Mind-body medicine therapies for a range of depression severity: A systematic review. Psychosomatics, 53, 407–423. Https://; daSilva, T.L., Ravindran, L.N., & Ravindran, A.V. (2009). Yoga in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders: A review. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 2, 6–16. Https:// 10.1016/j.ajp.2008.12.002; Forfylow, A. L. (2011). Integrating yoga with psychotherapy: A complementary treatment for anxiety and depression. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 45, 132–150; Li, A. W., & Goldsmith, A. W. (2012). The effects of yoga on anxiety and stress. Alternative Medicine Review, 17(1), 21–35; Uebelacker, L. A., Epstein-Lubow, G., Gaudiano, B. A., Tremont, G., Battle, C. L., & Miller, I. W. (2010). Hatha yoga for depression: Critical review of the evidence efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and direction for future research. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 16, 22–33. pra.0000367775.88388.96
  14. ^ Cramer, H., Anheyer, D., Lauche, R., & Dobos, G. (2017). A systematic review of yoga for major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 213, 70-77.
  15. ^ Thirthali, J., Naveen, G.H., Rao, M.G., Varambally, S., Christopher, R., and Gangadhar, B.N. (2013). Cortisol and antidepressant effects of yoga. Indian J. Psychiatry, 55, 405-408.
  16. ^ Reza, N., Deligiannidis, K.M., Eustis, E.H., & Battle, C.L. (2018). Complementary health practices for treating perinatal depression. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, 45(3), 441-454; Gong, H., Ni, C., Shen, X., Wu, T. & Jiang, C. (2015). Yoga for prenatal depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 15(14), 1-8.
  17. ^ Longacre, M., Silver-Highfield, E., Lama, P., & Grodin, M.A. (2012). Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of refugees and survivors of torture: A review and proposal for action. Torture, 22, 38–57; Forfylow, A.L. (2011). Integrating yoga with psychotherapy: A complementary treatment for anxiety and depression. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 45, 132–150; daSilva, T.L., Ravindran, L.N., & Ravindran, A.V. (2009). Yoga in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders: A review. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 2, 6–16. Https:// 10.1016/j.ajp.2008.12.002; Telles, S., Singh, N., & Balkrishna, A. (2012). Managing mental health disorders resulting from trauma through yoga: A review. Depression Research and Treatment, 2012, 1–9. Https://; Krisanaprakornkit, T., Sriraj, W., Piyavhatkul, N., & Laopaiboon, M. (2006). Meditation therapy for anxiety disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2006, 1–26; Li, A. W., & Goldsmith, C. W. (2012). The effects of yoga on anxiety and stress. Alternative Medicine Review, 17(1), 21–35; Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., Tuffrey, V., Richardson, J., & Pilkington, K. (2005). Yoga for anxiety: A systematic review of the research evidence. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39, 884–891.; Househam, A.M., & Solanto, M.V. (2016). Mindfulness as an intervention for ADHD. The ADHD Report, 24(2), 1-8; Evans, S., Ling, M., Hill, B., Rinehart, N., Austin, D., & Sciberras, E. (2018). Systematic review of meditation-based interventions for children with ADHD. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27(1), 9-27. 10.1007/s00787-017-1008-9; Krisanaprakornkit, T., Ngamjarus, C., Witoonchart, C., & Piyavhatkul, N. (2010). Meditation therapies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6, 1-14.; Medina J., Hopkins L., Powers M., Baird S.O., & Smits J. (2015). The effects of a Hatha yoga intervention on facets of distress tolerance. Cogn. Behav. Ther., 44(4), 288-300.; Baird, S.O., Hopkins, L.B., Medina, J.L., Rosenfield, D., Powers M.B., and Smits, J.A. (2016). Distress tolerance as a predictor of adherence to a yoga intervention: moderating roles of BMI and body image. Behav. Modif., 40(1/2), 199-217. https://10.1177/0145445515612401
  18. ^ Brown, K.W., & Ryan, R.M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822-848; Frank, J.L., Kohler, K., Peal, A., & Bose, B. (2017). Effectiveness of a school-based yoga program on adolescent mental health and school performance: Findings from a randomized controlled trial. Mindfulness, 8, 544-553
  19. ^ Harkess, K.N., Delfabbro, P. & Cohen-Woods S. (2016). The longitudinal mental health benefits of a yoga intervention in women experiencing chronic stress: A clinical trial. Cogent Psychology, 3, 1-17.
  20. ^ Hendricks, T., de Jong, J., & Cramer, H. (2017). The effects of yoga on positive mental health among healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(7), 505–517.
  21. ^ Tiedemann, A., O'Rourke, S., Sesto, R., & Sherrington, C. (2013). A 12-week Iyengar yoga program improved balance and mobility in older community-dwelling people: a pilot randomized controlled trial. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 68(9), 1068-1075.; Youkhana, S., Dean, C.M., Wolff, M., Sherrington, C., & Tiedemann, A. Yoga-based exercise improves balance and mobility in people aged 60 and over: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Age Ageing, 45(1), 21-29.
  22. ^ Grabara, M., & Szopa, J. (2015). Effects of hatha yoga exercises on spine flexibility in women over 50 years old. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(2), 361–365.; Tran, M., Holly, R., Lashbrook, J., & Amsterdam E. Effects of Hatha Yoga practice on the health-related aspects of physical fitness. Preventive Cardiology, 4(4), 165–170; Kongkaew, C., Lertsinthai, P., Jampachaisri, K., Mongkhon, P., Meesomperm, P., Kornkaew, K., and Malaiwong, P. (2018). The effects of Thai Yoga on physical fitness: A meta-analysis of randomized control trials. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(6), 541-551.
  23. ^ Williams, K., Abildso, C., Steinberg, L., Doyle, E., Epstein, B., Smith, D., … Cooper, L. (2009). Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on chronic low back pain. Spine 34(19), 2066-2076. https://doi/org/10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b315cc; Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., & Dobos, G. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 29(5), 450–460.; Ward, L., Stebbings, S., Cherkin, D., & Baxter, G. D. (2013). Yoga for functional ability, pain and psychosocial outcomes in musculoskeletal conditions: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Care, 11(4), 203-217.
  24. ^ Garfinkel, M.S., Singhal, A., Katz, W.A., Allan, D.A., Reshetar, R., & Schumacher, H.R. (1998). Yoga-based intervention for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized trial. JAMA, 280(18), 1601-1603; Park, J., McCaffrey, R., Newman, D., Cheung, C., & Hagen, D. (2014). The effect of Sit 'n' Fit Chair Yoga among community-dwelling older adults with osteoarthritis. Holistic Nursing Practice, 28(4), 247–257.; Cheung, C., Park, J., & Wyman, J.F. (2016). Effects of yoga on symptoms, physical function, and psychosocial outcomes in adults with osteoarthritis a focused review. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 95(2), 139–151.; Carson, J., Carson, K., Jones, K., Bennett, R., Wright, C., & Mist, S. (2010). A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia. Pain, 151(2), 530-539. 10.1016/j.pain.2010.08.020; Greendale, G.A., Huang, M.H., Karlamangla, A.S., Seeger, L., & Crawford, S. (2009). Yoga decreases kyphosis in senior women and men with adult‐onset hyperkyphosis: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57(9), 1569-1579. 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02391.x
  25. ^ Chen, K.M., Chen, M.H., Hong, S.M., Chao, H.C., Lin, H.S., Li, C.H. (2008). Physical fitness of older adults in senior activity centres after 24-week silver yoga exercises. Journal of Clinical Nursing 17(19), 2634–2646.; Bosch, P.R., Traustadottir, T., Howard, P., & Matt, K.S. (2009). Functional and physiological effects of yoga in women with rheumatoid arthritis: A pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 15(4), 24–31; Anand, A., Patwardhan, K., Singh, R., & Awasthi, H. (2018). Effects of pranayama on mental health and physical fitness in healthy university students. Yoga Mimamsa, 50(1), 27-30.
  26. ^ Cebrià, I., Arnall, D.A., Igual, C., & Tomas, J.M. (2014). Effects of inspiratory muscle training and yoga breathing exercises on respiratory muscle function in institutionalized frail older adults: a randomized controlled trial. J. Geriatr. Phys. Ther., 37(2), 65-75.
  27. ^ Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., Soo Lee, M., Dobos, G., & Cramer, H. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of yoga on weight-related outcomes. Preventive Medicine, 87, 213-232; Rioux ,J.G., & Ritenbaugh, C. (2013). Narrative review of yoga intervention clinical trials including weight-related outcomes. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 19(3), 32-46,
  28. ^ Telles, S., Sharma, S.K., Yadav, A., Singh, N., & Balkrishna A. (2014). A comparative controlled trial comparing the effects of yoga and walking for overweight and obese adults. Medical Science Monitor, 20, 894-904.; Seo, D.Y., Lee, S., Figueroa ,A., Kim, H.K., Baek, Y.H., Kwak, Y.S., … Han, J. (2012). Yoga training improves metabolic parameters in obese boys. Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 16(3), 175-180.
  29. ^ Gothe, N.P. & McAuley, E. (2015). Yoga and cognition: A meta-analysis of chronic and acute effects. Psychosomatic Medicine, 77(7), 784–797.; Gothe, N.P., Kramer, A.F., and McAuley, E. (2014). The effects of an 8-week hatha yoga intervention on executive function in older adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 69(9), 1109-1116.
  30. ^ Luu, K. & Hall, P.A. (2016). Hatha Yoga and executive function: A systematic review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22(2), 125–133.
  31. ^ Telles, S., Singh, N., Bhardwaj, A.K., Kumar, A., & Balkrishna, A. (2013). Effect of yoga or physical exercise on physical, cognitive and emotional measures in children: a randomized controlled trial. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Mental Health, 7, 1–16.
  32. ^ Hariprasad, V.R., Sivakumar, P.T., Koparde, V., Varambally, S., Thirthalli, J., Vargehese, M., … Gangadhar, B.N. (2013). Effects of yoga intervention on sleep and quality-of-life in elderly: a randomized controlled trial. Indian J. Psychiatry, 55(3), S364-S368. ; Bankar, M.A., Chaudhari, S.K., Chaudhari, K.D. (2013). Impact of long term yoga practice on sleep quality and quality of life in the elderly. J. Ayurveda Integr. Med., 4, 28-32; Manjunath, N.K. & Telles, S. (2005). Influence of yoga and Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population. Indian J. Med. Res., 121, 683-690.
  33. ^ Mustian, K.M. (2013). Yoga as treatment for insomnia among cancer patients and survivors: A systematic review. European Medical Journal of Oncology, 1, 106-115; Sarris, J., & Byrne ,G.J. (2011). A systematic review of insomnia and complementary medicine. Sleep Med Rev, 15, 99-106; Rubio-Arias, J., Marin-Cascales, E., Ramos-Campo, D.J., Hernandez, A.V., & Perez-Lopez, F.R. (2017). Effect of exercise on sleep quality and insomnia in middle-aged women: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Maturitas, 100, 49-56.
  34. ^ Sherman, K.J., Wellman, R.D., Cook, A.J., Cherkin, D.C., & Ceballos, R.M. (2013). Mediators of yoga and stretching for chronic low back pain. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med., 2013, 1-11.
  35. ^ Villemure, C., Ceko, M., Cotton, V.A., & Bushnell, M.C. (2014). Insular cortex mediates increased pain tolerance in yoga practitioners. Cereb. Cortex, 24(10), 2732-2740.
  36. ^ Lee, M., Moon, W., & Kim, J. (2014). Effect of yoga on pain, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and serotonin in premenopausal women with chronic low back pain. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med., 2014, 1-7.
  37. ^ Chandwani, K.D., Perkins, G., Nagendra, H.R., Raghuram, N.V., Spelman, A., Nagarathna, R., … Cohen, L. (2014). Randomized, controlled trial of yoga in women with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 32(10), 1058-1065.; Bower, J.E. & Irwin, M.R. (2016). Mind-body therapies and control of inflammatory biology: A descriptive review. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 51, 1-11.
  38. ^ Kubzansky, L.D., Huffman, J.C., Boehm, J.K., Hernandez, R., Kim, E.S., Koga, H.K., … Labarthe, D.R. (2018). Positive CV health promotion: Psychological well-being and cardiovascular disease. JACC Health Promotion Series: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 72(12),1382-1396.
  39. ^ Yeung, A., Kiat, H., Denniss, A.R., Cheema, B.S., Bensoussan, A., Machliss, B., … Chang, D. (2014). Randomised controlled trial of a 12 week yoga intervention on negative affective states, cardiovascular and cognitive function in post-cardiac rehabilitation patients. BMC Complement Altern Med., 14, 411–421.
  40. ^ National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (1998). Obesity education initiative expert panel on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of obesity in adults: clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: the evidence report. Bethesda, MD: NHLBI; Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE, National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care. (2006). Obesity: the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children. London, UK: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; National Collaborating Centre for Chronic Conditions. (2008). Type 2 diabetes: national clinical guideline for management in primary and secondary care (update). London: R Coll Physicians.
  41. ^ Park, S.H. & Kuem, S.H. (2017). Blood pressure response to meditation and yoga: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(9), 685-695.
  42. ^ Posadzki, P., Cramer ,H., Kuzdzal, A., Lee, M.S., & Ernst, E. (2014). Yoga for hypertension: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Complement. Ther. Med., 22(3), 511-522.;
  43. ^ Cramer, H. (2016). The efficacy and safety of yoga in managing hypertension. Exp. Clin. Endocrinol. Diabetes, 124(2), 65-70.
  44. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., Steckhan, N., Michalsen, A., & Dobos, G. (2014). Effects of yoga on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. J. Cardiol., 173(2), 170-183.
  45. ^ Thiyagarajan, R., Pal, P., Pal, G.K., Subramanian, S.K., Trakroo, M., Bobby, Z., & Das, A.K. (2015). Additional benefit of yoga to a standard lifestyle modification on blood pressure in prehypertensive subjects: a randomized controlled study. Hypertens. Res., 38, 48-55; Hagins, M., Rundle, A., Consedine, N.S., & Khalsa, S.B. (2014). A randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of yoga with an active control on ambulatory blood pressure in individuals with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension. J. Clin. Hypertens., 16, 54-62
  46. ^ Johnson, C.C., Sheffield, K.M., & Brown, R.E. (2018). Mind-Body therapies for African-American women at risk for cardiometabolic disease: A systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2018, 1-11; Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., Steckhan, N., Michalsen, A., & Dobos G. (2014). Effects of yoga on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. J. Cardiol., 173(2), 170-183.
  47. ^ K. Yang. (2007). A review of yoga programs for four leading risk factors of chronic diseases. Evid Based Complement Altern Med, 4(4), 487-491; Innes, K.E., Bourguignon, C., & Taylor, A.G. (2005). Risk indices associated with the insulin resistance syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and possible protection with yoga: a systematic review. J Am Board Fam Pract, 18(6), 491-519; Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., Steckhan, N., Michalsen, A., & Dobos G. (2014). Effects of yoga on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. J. Cardiol., 173(2), 170-183.; Innes, K.E. & Vincent, H.K. (2007). The influence of yoga-based programs on risk profiles in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Altern Med, 4(4), 469-486.
  48. ^ Raghuram, N., Parachuri, V.R., Swarnagowri, M.V., Babu, S., Chaku, R., Kulkarni, R., … Nagendra, H.R. (2014). Yoga based cardiac rehabilitation after coronary artery bypass surgery: one-year results on LVEF, lipid profile and psychological states - a randomized controlled study. Indian Heart J., 66(5), 490-502.
  49. ^ Krishna, B.H., Pal, P., Pal, G.K., Balachander, J., Jayasettiaseelon, E., Sreekanth, Y., … Gaur, G.S. (2014). Effect of yoga therapy on heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac autonomic function in heart failure. J Clin Diagn Res., 8(1), 14–16.; Haider, T., Sharma, M., & Branscum, P. (2017). Yoga as an alternative and complimentary therapy for cardiovascular disease: A systematic review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(2), 310–316.
  50. ^ Go, A.S., Mozaffarian, D., Roger, V.L., Benjamin, E.J., Berry, J.D., & Turner M.B. (2014). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2014 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 128, 1-267.
  51. ^ Barrows, J.L. & Fleury, J. (2016). Systematic review of yoga interventions to promote cardiovascular health in older adults. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 38(6), 753-781.
  52. ^ Nagarathna, R., Usharani, M.R., Rao, A.R., Chaku, R., Kulkarni, R., & Nagendra, H.R. (2012). Efficacy of yoga based life style modification program on medication score and lipid profile in type 2 diabetes—a randomized control study. Int J Diabetes Dev Ctries, 32(3), 122-130; Gordon, L.A., Morrison, E.Y., McGrowder, D.A., Young, R., Fraser, Y.T.P., Zamora, E., … Irving, R.R. (2008). Effect of exercise therapy on lipid profile and oxidative stress indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes. BMC Complement Altern Med, 8, 21.; Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., Steckhan, N., Michalsen, A., & Dobos G. (2014). Effects of yoga on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. J. Cardiol., 173(2), 170-183.; Shantakumari, N., Sequeira, S., & El deeb, R. (2013). Effects of a yoga intervention on lipid profiles of diabetes patients with dyslipidemia. Indian Heart J, 65(2), 127-131. 10.1016/j.ihj.2013.02.010
  53. ^ Ford, E.S., Li, C., & Zhao G. (2010). Prevalence and correlates of metabolic syndrome based on a harmonious definition among adults in the US. Journal of Diabetes, 2(3), 180-193.; Johnson, C.C., Sheffield, K.M., & Brown, R.E. (2018). Mind-Body therapies for African-American women at risk for cardiometabolic disease: A systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2018, 1-11.
  54. ^ Manzel, A., Muller, D. N., Hafler, D. A., Erdman, S. E., Linker, R. A., & Kleinewietfeld, M. (2014). Role of “Western Diet” in inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 14(1), 404.; Lerner, A., Jeremias, P., & Matthias, T. (2015). The world incidence and prevalence of autoimmune diseases is increasing. International Journal of Celiac Disease, 3(4), 151-155.; Rook, G. (2012). Hygiene hypothesis and autoimmune diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, 42(1), 5-15.
  55. ^ Bower, J.E. & Irwin, M.R. (2016). Mind-body therapies and control of inflammatory biology: A descriptive review. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 51, 1-11.
  56. ^ Sharif, K., Watad, A., Coplan, L., Lichtbroun, B., Krosser, A., Lichtbroun, M., ... Shoenfeld, Y. (2018). The role of stress in the mosaic of autoimmunity: An overlooked association. Autoimmunity Reviews, 17(10), 967-983; Mishra, S.K., Singh, P., Bunch, S.J., & Zhang, R. (2012). The therapeutic value of yoga in neurological disorders. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 15(4), 247-254.
  57. ^ Guner, S. & Inanici, F. (2015). Yoga therapy and ambulatory multiple sclerosis assessment of gait analysis parameters, fatigue and balance. J. Bodyw. Mov. Ther., 19(1), 72-81.
  58. ^ Hassanpour-Dehkordi, A., & Jivad, N. (2014). Comparison of regular aerobic and yoga and the quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis. Med. J. Islam Repub. Iran., 28, 141; Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Azizi, H., Dobos, G., & Langhorst, J. (2014). Yoga for multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 9(11), e112414.; Sandroff, B.M., Hillman, C.H., Benedict, R.H., & Motl, R.W. (2015). Acute effects of walking, cycling, and yoga exercise on cognition in cognitive processing speed. J. Clin. Exp. Neuropsychol., 37, 209-219.
  59. ^ Langhorst, J., Klose, P., Dobos, G.J., Bernardy, K. & Hauser, W.. (2013). Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Rheumatology International, 33(1), 193-207.
  60. ^ Oka T., Tanahashi T., Chijiwa T., Lkhagvasuren B., Sudo N., and Oka K. (2014). Isometric yoga improves the fatigue and pain of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who are resistant to conventional therapy: a randomized, controlled trial. Biopsychosoc. Med., 8(1), 27. 10.1186/s13030-014-0027-8; Middleton, K.R., Haaz Moonaz, S., Hasni, S.A., Magaña López, M., Tataw-Ayuketah, G., Farmer, N., & Wallen, G.R. (2018). Yoga for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Clinician experiences and qualitative perspectives from students and yoga instructors living with SLE. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 41, 111-117.
  61. ^ Posadzki, P. & Ernst, E. (2011). Yoga for asthma? A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. J Asthma., 48(6), 632-9.; Sharma, M., Haider, T., & Bose, P.P. (2012). Yoga as an alternative and complementary treatment for asthma: A systematic review. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 17(3), 212-217.; Cramer, H., Posadzki, P., Dobos, G., & Langhorst, J. (2014). Yoga for asthma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol., 112(6), 503-510.
  62. ^ Wu, L.-L., Lin, Z.-K., Weng, H.-D., Qi, Q.-F., Lu, J., & Liu, K.-X. (2018). Effectiveness of meditative movement on COPD: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 13, 1239–1250; Chenyang, L., Yanhui, L., Yunan, J., Lingli, X., & Zhenhua, H. (2018). Efficacy of yoga training in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 30, 33-37.
  63. ^ Pomidori, L., Campigotto, F., Amatya, T.M., Bernardi, L., & Cogo, A. (2009). Efficacy and tolerability of yoga breathing in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot study. J. Cardiopulm. Rehabil. Prev., 29(2), 133-137.
  64. ^ Grundmann, O., & Yoon, S. L. (2014). Complementary and alternative medicines in irritable bowel syndrome: An integrative view. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(2), 346-362.; Taneja, I., Deepak, K.K., Poojary, G., Acharya, I.N., Pandey, R.M., & Sharma, M.P. (2004). Yogic versus conventional treatment in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized control study. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 29(1), 19-33; Cramer, H., Schäfer, M., Schöls, M., Köcke, J., Elsenbruch, S., Lauche, R. … Langhorst, J. (2017). Randomised clinical trial: yoga vs written self-care advice for ulcerative colitis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 45(11), 1379-1389.; Lin, S.C. & Cheifetz, A.S. (2018). The use of complementary and alternative medicine in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 14(7), 415–425.
  65. ^ Yeh, A. M., Wren, A., & Golianu, B. (2017). Mind–Body Interventions for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Children, 4(4), 22; Schumann, D., Anheyer, D., Lauche, R., Dobos, G., Langhorst, J., & Cramer, H. (2016). Effect of yoga in the therapy of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A systematic review. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol., 14(12):1720-1731; Arruda, J.M., Bogetz, A.L., Vellanki, S., Wren, A., & Yeh, A.M. (2018). Yoga as adjunct therapy for adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A pilot clinical trial. Complementary Therapies In Medicine, 41, 99-104.
  66. ^ Nilakanthan, S., Metri, K., Raghuram, N., & Hongasandra, N. (2016). Effect of 6 months intense Yoga practice on lipid profile, thyroxine medication and serum TSH level in women suffering from hypothyroidism: A pilot study. J Complement Integr Med., 13(2),189-93.; Pajai, M.S. & Pajai, S.V. (2014). Role of yoga in prevention of hypothyroidism. J Pharm Sci Innov., 3(2), 111-113
  67. ^ Monterssori, V., Press, N., Harris, M., Akagi, L., & Montaner, J.S.G. (2004). Adverse effects of antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection. CMAJ, 170(2), 229-38.; Al-Dakkak, I., Patel, S., McCann, E., Gadkari, A., Prajapati, G., & Maiese, E.M. (2013). The impact of specific HIV treatment-related adverse events on adherence to antiretroviral therapy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. AIDS Care, 25(4), 400-14.
  68. ^ Agarwal, R.P., Kumar, A., & Lewis, J.E. (2015). A pilot feasibility and acceptability study of yoga/meditation on the quality of life and markers of stress in persons living with HIV who also use crack cocaine. J. Altern. Complement. Med., 21, 152-158; Wimberly, A.S., Engstrom, M., Layde, M., & McKay, J.R. (2018). A randomized trial of yoga for stress and substance use among People Living With HIV in reentry. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 94, 97 - 104; Cade, W.T., Reeds, D.N., Mondy, K.E., Overton, E.T., Grassino, J., Tucker, S., ... Yarasheski, K.E. (2010). Yoga lifestyle intervention reduces blood pressure in HIV-Infected adults With cardiovascular disease risk factors. HIV Medicine, 11(6), 379-388.
  69. ^ Voigt, N., Cho, H., & Schnall, R. (2018). Feature: Supervised physical activity and improved functional capacity among adults living with HIV: A systematic review. Journal of the Association of Nurses In AIDS Care, 29(5), 667 - 680.
  70. ^ Naoroibam, R., Metri, K.G., Bhargav, H., Nagaratna, R., & Nagendra, H.R. (2016). Effect of integrated yoga (IY) on psychological states and CD4 counts of HIV-1 infected patients: A randomized controlled pilot study. Int. J. Yoga, 9(1), 57-61.
  71. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., & Dobos, G. (2014). Characteristics of randomized controlled trials of yoga: a bibliometric analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med, 14(1), 328; Buffart, L.M., van Uffelen, J.G., Riphagen, I.I., Brug, J., van Mechelen, W., Brown, W.J., & Chinapaw, M.J. (2012). Physical and psychosocial benefits of yoga in cancer patients and survivors, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Cancer, 12, 559.
  72. ^ Fisher, M.I., Donahoe-Fillmore, B., Leach, L., O'Malley, C., Paeplow, C., Prescott, T., & Merriman, H. (2014). Effects of yoga on arm volume among women with breast cancer related lymphedema: A pilot study. J. Bodyw. Mov. Ther., 18, 559-565; Zeichner, S. B., Zeichner, R. L., Gogineni, K., Shatil, S., & Ioachimescu, O. (2017). Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, mindfulness, and yoga in patients with breast cancer with sleep disturbance: A literature review. Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research, 11, 1-11.; Littman, A.J., Bertram, L.C., Ceballos, R., Ulrich, C.M., Ramaprasad, J., McGregor, B. & McTiernan, A. (2012). Randomized controlled pilot trial of yoga in overweight and obese breast cancer survivors: Effects on quality of life and anthropometric measures. Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 20(2), 267-277; Peppone, L.J., Janeisins, M.C., Kamen, C., Mohile, S.G., Sprod, L.K., Gewandter, J.S., … Mustian, K.M. (2015). The effect of YOCAS yoga for musculoskeletal symptoms among breast cancer survivors on hormonal therapy. Breast Cancer Res. Treat., 150(3), 597-604; Rao, R. M., Raghuram, N., Nagendra, H. R., Kodaganur, G. S., Bilimagga, R. S., Shashidhara, H., … Rao, N. (2017). Effects of a yoga program on mood states, quality of life, and toxicity in breast cancer patients receiving conventional treatment: A randomized controlled trial. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 237–246.
  73. ^ Hooke, M.C., Gilchrist, L., Foster, L., Langevin, M., & Lee, J. (2016). Yoga for children and adolescents after completing cancer treatment. J. Pediatr. Oncol. Nurs., 33, 64-73; Wurz, A., Chamorro-Vina, C., Guilcher, G.M., Schulte, F., & Culos-Reed, S.N. (2014). The feasibility and benefits of a 12-week yoga intervention for pediatric cancer out-patients. Pediatr. Blood Cancer, 61, 1828-1834.
  74. ^ Sharma, N.K., Robbins, K., Wagner, K., & Colgrove, Y. (2015). A randomized controlled pilot study of the therapeutic effects of yoga in people with Parkinson's disease. Int J Yoga, 8(1), 74-79; Ni, M., Signorile, J.F., Mooney, K., Balachandra, A., Potiaumpai, M., Luca, C. … Perr, A.C. (2016). Comparative effect of power training and high speed yoga on motor function in older patients with Parkinson disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 97(3), 345-354.
  75. ^ Talwadkar, S., Jagannathan, A., & Raghuram, N. (2014). Effect of trataka on cognitive functions in the elderly. Int. J. Yoga, 7(2), 96-103; Fan, J.T. & Chen, K.M. (2011). Using silver yoga exercises to promote physical and mental health of elders with dementia in long-term care facilities. Int. Psychogeriatr., 23(8), 1222-1230, 10.1017/S1041610211000287; Hariprasad, V.R., Varambally, S., Shivakumar, V., Kalmady, S.V., Venkatasubramanian, G., & Gangadhar, B.N. (2013). Yoga increases the volume of the hippocampus in elderly subjects. Indian J. Psychiatry, 55(3), S394-S396, 10.4103/0019-5545.116309.
  76. ^ McCaffrey, R., Park, J., Newman, D., & Hagen, D. (2014). The effect of chair yoga in older adults with moderate and severe Alzheimer's disease. Res Gerontol Nurs, 7(4), 171-177.
  77. ^ Waelde, L.C., Thompson, L., and Gallagher-Thompson D. (2004). A pilot study of a yoga and meditation intervention for dementia caregiver stress. J Clin Psychol, 60(6), 677-687; Lavretsky, H., Epel, E.S., Siddarth P., Nazarian, N., Cyr, N.S., Khalsa, D.S. … Irwin, M.R. (2013). A pilot study of yogic meditation for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: effects on mental health, cognition, and telomerase activity. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry, 28(1), 57-65; Black, D.S., Cole, S.W., Irwin, M.R., Breen, E., St. Cyr, N.M., Nazarian, N. … Lavretsky, H. (2013). Yogic meditation reverses NFκB and IRF related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(3), 348-355.
  78. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., & Dobos, G. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Clin J Pain, 29(5), 450-460; Cramer, H., Posadzki, P., Dobos, G., & Langhorst, J. (2014). Yoga for asthma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol, 112(6), 503-510; Chu, P., Gotink, R.A., Yeh, G.Y., Goldie, S.J., & Hunink, M.M. (2016). The effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Prev Cardiol, 23(3), 291-307.
  79. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2016). Is one yoga style better than another? A systematic review of associations of yoga style and conclusions in randomized yoga trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 25, 178-187; Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2013). Yoga for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Depress Anxiety, 30(11), 1068-1083.
  80. ^ Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2015). Are Indian yoga trials more likely to be positive than those from other countries? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Contemp Clin Trials, 41, 269-272; Sood, A., Knudsen, K., Sood, R., Wahner-Roedler, D.L., Barnes, S.A., Bardia, A., & Bauer, B.A. (2007). Publication bias for CAM trials in the highest impact factor medicine journals is partly due to geographical bias. J Clin Epidemiol, 60(11), 1123-1126; Pittler, M.H., Abbot, N.C., Harkness, E.F., & Ernst, E. (2000). Location bias in controlled clinical trials of complementary/alternative therapies. J Clin Epidemiol, 53(5), 485-489.
  81. ^ Cramer, H., Langhorst, J., Dobos, G. & Lauche, R. (2015). Associated factors and consequences of risk of bias in randomized controlled trials of yoga: A systematic review. PLoS ONE, 10(12).
  82. ^ Ward, L., Stebbing, S., Sherman, K.J., Cherkin, D., & Baxter, G.D. (2014). Establishing key components of yoga interventions for musculoskeletal conditions: A Delphi survey. BMC Complement Altern Med, 14, 196; Ward, L., Stebbings, S., Cherkin, D., & Baxter, G.D. (2014). Components and reporting of yoga interventions for musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Complement Ther Med, 22(5), 909-919; Sherman, K.J. (2012). Guidelines for developing yoga interventions for randomized trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2012, 1-16.
  83. ^ Cramer, H., Ward, L., Saper, R., Fishbein, D., Dobos, G., & Lauche, R. (2015). The safety of yoga: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Epidemiology, 182(4), 281–293.
  84. ^ Cramer, H., Krucoff, C., & Dobos, G. (2013) Adverse events associated with yoga: A systematic review of published case reports and case series. PLoS ONE, 8(10), e75515. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075515; Mikkonen, J., Pedersen, P., & McCarthy, P.W. (2008). A survey of musculosceletal injury among ashtanga vinyasa yoga practioners. Int J Yoga Ther, 18(1), 59-64.
  85. ^ Cramer, H., Krucoff, C., & Dobos, G. (2013) Adverse events associated with yoga: A systematic review of published case reports and case series. PLoS ONE, 8(10), e75515. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075515; Johnson, D.B., Tierney, M.J. & Sadighi, P.J. (2004). Kapalabhati pranayama: breath of fire or cause of pneumothorax? A case report. Chest, 125(5),1951-2; Longacre, M., Silver-Highfield, E., Lama, P., & Grodin, M.A. (2012). Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of refugees and survivors of torture: A review and proposal for action. Torture, 22, 38–57.
  86. ^ Uebelacker, L.A., Epstein-Lubow, G., Gaudiano, B.A., Tremont, G., Battle, C.L., & Miller, I.W. (2010). Hatha yoga for depression: Critical review of the evidence efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and direction for future research. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 16(1), 22–33; Matsushita, T. & Oka, T. (2015). A large-scale survey of adverse events experienced in yoga classes. BioPsychoSocial Medicine, 9, 9.
  87. ^ Ornish, D., Lin, J., Chan, J.M., Epel, E., Kemp, C., Weidner, G.,… Blackburn, E.H. (2013). Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy‐proven low‐risk prostate cancer: 5‐year follow‐up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol., 14(11), 1112–1120; Hoge, E.A., Chen, M.M., Orr, E., Metcalf, C.A., Fischer, L.E., Pollack, M.H., … Simon, N.M. (2013). Loving‐Kindness Meditation practice associated with longer telomeres in women. Brain Behav. Immun., 32, 159–163.
  88. ^ Hagen, I., & Nayar, U.S. (2014). Yoga for children and young people’s mental health and well‐being: Researchreview and reflections on the mental health potentials of yoga. Front. Psychiatry, 5, 35.
  89. ^ Wolff, M., Brorsson, A., Midlov, P., Sundquist, K., & Strandberg, E.L. (2017). Yoga – a laborious way to well-being: patients’ experiences of yoga as a treatment for hypertension in primary care. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 35(4), 360–368.