Table 4: Overview of reviews—primary outcomes (yoga meta-analyses).

Review ConditionOutcome Intervention(s) Comparison Effect size 
(95% CI)
valueNo. of participants (studies)Quality of Evidence (grade) Heterogeneity analysis Comments
DescriptionMeasuring instrument(s)

Büssing et al., 2012 [10]PainEffect size of painVAS, MPQ, CMDQHatha, Iyengar, and unspecified yogaPhysical activity,
educational sessions,
waiting list, lecture,
routine care, and conversation
SMD −0.74
(−0.97, −0.52)
<0.0001776 Moderate* (low)Chi square test 19.73,
df = 11 ( );
-square = 44%
Moderate heterogeneity detected
“Methodological quality of the studies had no relevant impact on the study outcome; of note, studies with higher quality had a better pain outcome as compared with studies with low quality”

Cabral et al.,
2011 [11]
Psychiatric disorderTreatment of psychiatric disorder: depression, anxiety, PTSD, and schizophrenia)BDI, HADS, digit span test, wellbeing scores, stress hormone levels (cortisol and ACTH)Integrated, Sudarshan Kriya, Hatha, Sahaj, Meditation yoga, Siddha Samadhi, and Iyengar Other treatmentSMD −3.25
(−5.36, −1.14)
0.002343 n.rCochran test = 369.69
( )
for fixed model data
Heterogeneity indicated
“Funnel plot and Egger regression test ( ) indicate publication bias; failsafe interpreted to suggest 21.2 missing studies needed to nullify observed effect”

Langhorst et al., 2012 [20]Fibromyalgia syndromePainVASYoga of Awareness, water yogaWaitlist, treatment as usualSMD −0.54
(−0.96, −0.11)
0.0188 (Low) -square = 0%“Evidence of a short-term relief of four key domains of FMS by Yoga: pain, fatigue, depression, quality of life” No evidence of sleep improvement with yoga v. active or waitlist controls

Lee et al., 2009 [21]MenopauseMenopausal symptomsMENSIIyengar, unspecified yogaNo treatmentSMD 0.07
(−0.25, 0.39)
0.6691 2.5/5*  
Chi square test 0.28,
df = 1 ( );
-square = 0%
No heterogeneity detected
“Evidence is insufficient to suggest that yoga is an effective intervention for menopause”

Lin et al.,
2011 [22]
Psychological health, quality of life, and physical health of cancer patientsAnxiety, depression, distress, and stressHADS, PSS, STAI, SOSI, POMS, SCL-90-R, STAI, CES-D, PANAS, IES, DMIIntegrated yoga, MBSR: gentle yoga, Tibetan, and unspecified yogaWaitlist, n.rSMD −0.95
(−1.63, −0.27)
0.006744 5.25/10**  
Chi square test 33, 96, df = 4
( );
-square = 88%
Very high heterogeneity detected
“Findings show potential benefits of yoga for people with cancer in improvements of psychological health clinical heterogeneity to be considered when interpreting results”
Quality of lifeSF-12, FACT_B, FACT_G, and EORTC QLQ-C30Restorative, Hatha, and unspecified yogan.rSMD −0.29
(−0.58, 0.01)
0.51210 4.7/10**  
Chi square test 1.34,
df = 2 ( );
-square = 0%
No heterogeneity detected
Physical healthSF-12, FACT_B, and FACT_GRestorative, Hatha, Tibetan, and MBSR: gentle yogan.rSMD −0.16
(−0.37, −0.06)
0.15367 5.25/10**  
Chi square test 3.96,
df = 3 ( );
-square = 24%
Some heterogeneity detected

Slade and Keating,
2007 [31]
Chronic low back painMedium-term painn.rViniyoga, IyengarTrunk strength and aerobics, book and lecturesSMD 0.92
(0.47, 1.37)
n.r88 7.7/10**  
n.r“Indicated significant and large effects for medium-term pain in favour of yoga”

n.r: not reported; BDI: Beck Depression Inventory; VAS: Visual Analogue Scale; MENSI: Menopausal Self-inventory; MPQ: McGill pain questionnaire; PPI: Present Pain Index; CMDQ: Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire; HADS: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; PSS: Perceived Stress Scale; STAI: State of Trait Anxiety Inventory; SOSI: Symptoms of stress inventory; POMS: Profile of Mood States; SCL-90-R: Symptoms Checklist Revised; CES-D: Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; PANAS: Positive and Negative Affect Schedule; IES: Impact of Events Scale; DMI: Distressed Mood Index; SF-36: Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form Health Survey; SF-12: The 12-Item Short Form Health Survey; FACT_B: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast; FACT_G: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General; EORTC QLQ-C30: European Organization for research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Version 3.0; MBSR: Mindfulness-based stress reduction.
*Average Jadad score.
**Average PEDro scale.