Yoga off the mat: How far and to whom do the benefits extend?

Laci Scott, The University of Texas School of Public Health


At least 15 million American adults have participated in yoga at least once in their lifetime (Saper, Eisenberg, Davis, Culpepper, & Phillips, 2004). The field of yoga research is relatively new in the United States, and the majority of studies have concentrated on yoga's effect on measures of physiology (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity) or psychological measures of stress and anxiety. This review attempted to identify studies that had been conducted measuring a different set of outcome measures, specifically violence, trauma, eating, and other behavioral disorders. In 9 of 10 studies reviewed, researchers observed statistically significant effects of yoga interventions. Effects were most evident within multifaceted studies that combined intensive yoga practice with group discussion and training. Only one group (Mitchell, Mazzeo, Rausch, & Cooke, 2007) failed to observe any significant differences between yoga practice groups and control groups. Effects were seen in both sexes, although a majority of the studies were aimed specifically at women. All studies were limited by small sample size and lack of follow-up data. Future research should seek to increase sample size, to diversify recruitment to allow for the randomization of treatment and control groups, and to allow for long-term follow-up.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Scott, Laci, "Yoga off the mat: How far and to whom do the benefits extend?" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457564.