Combating the psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic through yoga: Recommendation from an overview

J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2022 Apr-Jun;13(2):100433. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2021.04.003. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


Globally, the psychological health of the people is being affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the fact that numerous systematic reviews already exist on yoga and mental health, it becomes vital to undertake an overview on the same. The objective of the overview was to summarise the evidence from different systematic reviews of distinct yoga interventions used to improve mental health and recommend yoga practices for the same. The protocol was registered on PROSPERO (CRD42020185221). MEDLINE via Pubmed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Google Scholar were searched for relevant literature. Search terms used were "Yoga practice, mental health and systematic review". Reviews from earliest possible date till May 2020, including those examining the effects of any single or combination of yoga interventions on mental health reported on children, youth and adults were selected. The Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool was used to evaluate the evidence of the included reviews. Out of the 90 reviews found, eight unique reviews were selected for the overview. Overall, 243 studies were analyzed, with an overlap of only 6 studies across the reviews. Out of 8 reviews, only 2 were of high quality and the rest were of moderate quality. Owing to heterogeneity of the included studies, only descriptive analysis was possible. The results of the review indicate moderate to positive effects of yoga on the mental health parameters. Practicing yoga (physical postures, Bhramary Pranayam, mindfulness meditation, sahaj yoga and laughter therapy) can be beneficial to improve psychological health of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Mental health; Overview; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Review