Yoga as an alternative and complementary approach for stress management: a systematic review

J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2014 Jan;19(1):59-67. doi: 10.1177/2156587213503344. Epub 2013 Sep 12.


Stress has become a global public health problem. Yoga offers one possible way of reducing stress. The purpose of this study was to look at studies from 2011 to May 2013 and examine whether yoga can be an efficacious approach for managing stress. A systematic search of Medline, CINAHL, and Alt HealthWatch databases was conducted for quantitative articles involving all schools of yoga. A total of 17 articles met the inclusion criteria. Six of these were from the United States, 3 from India, 2 from the United Kingdom, and 1 each from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Iraq, Sweden, and Taiwan. Of the 17 studies, 12 demonstrated positive changes in psychological or physiological outcomes related to stress. Despite the limitations, not all studies used a randomized controlled design, had smaller sample sizes, had different outcomes, had nonstandardized yoga intervention, and had varying lengths, yoga appears to be a promising modality for stress management.

Keywords: anxiety; mind–body interventions; stress; yoga.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Yoga*