The benefits of yoga practice compared to physical exercise in the management of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2018 Sep;12(5):795-805. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2018.04.008. Epub 2018 Apr 18.


Yoga is increasingly used as an adjunctive therapy in the management of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). The present study aims to systematically evaluate the literature and perform a meta-analysis on the effects of yoga practice compared to physical exercise in the management of T2DM. Data were obtained using a stepwise search process using keywords in the following online medical databases; PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus. All controlled clinical trials involving patients with T2DM, comparing yoga as an intervention with physical exercise and evaluating glycaemic control and other outcomes between the intervention and control groups were included in the analysis. Eight studies were eligible to be included in the systematic review. In total, 842 participants were assigned to a Yoga intervention or a control group with an Exercise intervention and the age range of participants was 30-78 years. A significant reduction in FBG (15.16 mg/dl), PPBG (28.66 mg/dl), HbA1c (0.39%) and BMI (0.71 kg/m2) was noted in the intervention group ('Yoga') compared to the control group ('Physical Exercise') in the pooled analysis. We did not observe any significant difference between the two groups for lipid parameters, other body composition measures (WC and WHR) and Blood Pressure. In conclusion, our results show that Yoga has beneficial effects on glycaemic control in comparison to physical exercise in T2DM However, individual studies showed considerable heterogeneity. Hence, further well-controlled randomized trials are required prior to drawing conclusions about the benefits of yoga in comparison to physical exercise.

Keywords: Exercise; Physical activity; Type 2 diabetes; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Disease Management*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glycemic Index / physiology
  • Humans
  • Yoga*


  • Blood Glucose