Yoga is used for the treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and increase anxiety control.[1] 

Yoga's ability to improve cognitive functions and reduce stress makes it appealing in the treatment of schizophrenia, because of its association with cognitive deficits and stress related relapse. In one study, at the end of 4 months those patients treated with yoga were better in their social and occupational functions and quality of life.[2]

Overall, studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors.[3]

Long-term yoga practitioners have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements, as well reduced symptoms of asthma in asthmatics.[4,5]

Regular yoga practice increases brain GABA levels and is shown to improve mood and anxiety more than other metabolically matched exercises, such as jogging or walking.[6]



1. DiStasio SA. Integrating yoga into cancer care. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2008;12:125–30. [PubMed]

2. Duraiswamy G, Thirthalli J, Nagendra HR, Gangadhar BN. Yoga therapy as an add-on treatment in the management of patients with schizophrenia – a randomized controlled trial. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2007;116:226–32. [PubMed]

3. Yoga could be good for heart disease. Simultaneous focus on body, breathing, and mind may be just what the doctor ordered. Harv Heart Lett. 2010;21:5. [PubMed]

4. Birdee GS, Legedza AT, Saper RB, Bertisch SM, Eisenberg DM, Phillips RS. Characteristics of Yoga Users: Results of a National Survey. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23:1653–8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

5. Vempati R, Bijlani RL, Deepak KK. The efficacy of a comprehensive lifestyle modification programme based on yoga in the management of bronchial asthma: A randomized controlled trial. BMC Pulm Med. 2009;9:37.[PMC free article] [PubMed]

6. Streeter CC, Whitfield TH, Owen L, Rein T, Karri SK, Yakhkind A, et al. Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study. J Altern Complement Med.2010;16:1145–52. [PMC free article] [PubMed]