Efficacy of a short-term yoga-based lifestyle intervention in reducing stress and inflammation: preliminary results

J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):662-7. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0265.


Objectives: Previously it was shown that a brief yoga-based lifestyle intervention was efficacious in reducing oxidative stress and risk of chronic diseases even in a short duration. The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of this intervention in reducing stress and inflammation in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases.

Design: This study reports preliminary results from a nonrandomized prospective ongoing study with pre-post design.

Setting/location: The study was conducted at the Integral Health Clinic, an outpatient facility conducting these yoga-based lifestyle intervention programs for prevention and management of chronic diseases.

Subjects: Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases and overweight/obese subjects were included while physically challenged, and those on other interventions were excluded from the study.

Intervention: A pretested intervention program included asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), stress management, group discussions, lectures, and individualized advice.

Outcome measures: There was a reduction in stress (plasma cortisol and β-endorphin) and inflammation (interleukin [IL]-6 and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α) at day 0 versus day 10.

Results: Eighty-six (86) patients (44 female, 42 male, 40.07 ± 13.91 years) attended this program. Overall, the mean level of cortisol decreased from baseline to day 10 (149.95 ± 46.07, 129.07 ± 33.30 ng/mL; p=0.001) while β-endorphins increased from baseline to day 10 (3.53 ± 0.88, 4.06 ± 0.79 ng/mL; p=0.024). Also, there was reduction from baseline to day 10 in mean levels of IL-6 (2.16 ± 0.42, 1.94 ± 0.10 pg/mL, p=0.036) and TNF-α (2.85 ± 0.59, 1.95 ± 0.32 pg/mL, p=0.002).

Conclusions: This brief yoga-based lifestyle intervention reduced the markers of stress and inflammation as early as 10 days in patients with chronic diseases; however, complete results of this study will confirm whether this program has utility as complementary and alternative therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Group Processes
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / blood
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Yoga*
  • beta-Endorphin / blood


  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • beta-Endorphin
  • Hydrocortisone