The effectiveness of yoga as a form of exercise in the management of rheumatic diseases

Rheumatol Int. 2023 May;43(5):795-801. doi: 10.1007/s00296-023-05291-9. Epub 2023 Mar 1.


Yoga, a long-standing Indian tradition, has gained popularity globally, inspiring many different disciplines to employ it as a complementary treatment for various diseases. Yoga is primarily composed of numerous physical poses and positions that are coupled with breathing techniques, profound relaxation, and meditation. There are many types of yoga with varying levels of difficulty. Yoga, consisting of various poses and postures with distinct postural mechanics, is frequently highlighted as an exercise that improves both physical and mental health. Applying the proper techniques to yoga poses can boost balance, strength, and flexibility while also improving general health and quality of life. In addition to its physical benefits, it is recognized that yoga enhances an individual's mood, anxiety, and depression levels and their ability to deal with stress. Rheumatic diseases affect many different organs, particularly the musculoskeletal structures, and negatively impact patients' quality of life. Maintaining a sufficient level of exercise is essential to preserve and enhance physical function in addition to pharmaceutical therapy, the mainstay of rheumatic disease treatment. In treatment guidelines for many rheumatic diseases, exercise, and physiotherapy techniques are stressed as the most substantial component of non-pharmacological treatment. This review considered yoga a form of exercise outside of traditional practices. From this perspective, we aimed to summarize the efficacy of yoga practices on various rheumatic diseases. Additionally, we aimed to highlight possible mechanisms of action.

Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis; Arthritis; Fibromyalgia; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatology; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Meditation
  • Quality of Life
  • Rheumatic Diseases* / therapy
  • Yoga* / psychology