A systematic review of yoga for state anxiety: considerations for occupational therapy

Can J Occup Ther. 2013 Jun;80(3):150-70. doi: 10.1177/0008417413500930.


Background: State anxiety can result from a variety of life situations. This type of anxiety can disrupt occupational engagement and performance, thereby affecting rehabilitation and recovery. Occupational therapists need to address the connection between mind-body-spirit and its relationship to performance and engagement in meaningful occupations. Yoga, when used as an adjunct to therapy, has the potential to address state anxiety.

Purpose: The aim was to systematically review the evidence concerning the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment approach for state anxiety.

Methods: Six electronic databases, the authors' own files, and the references of included studies from 1990 to July 2011 were searched.

Findings: A total of 25 unique studies represented by 26 publications made up the sample: two systematic reviews; 16 randomized controlled trials, and seven prospective, controlled, non-randomized studies. Evidence suggests yoga can be a viable therapeutic option for reducing state anxiety in certain situations.

Implications: In making the determination to recommend yoga as an intervention, occupational therapists should consider the client's circumstances and values as well as the type and intensity of the yoga program.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Yoga*