Because Breathe Together is located in the Silicon Valley, and so many of our students and teachers come from medical, engineering, educational and scientific backgrounds, we felt that it would be important to provide evidence for the common phrase, “Yoga is good for you.” The scientific studies listed below show how yoga, tai chi, and meditation can benefit many health conditions at any age. These are sizeable studies, conducted at reputable institutions, and the majority are designed as randomized controlled trials (which is the gold standard for a clinical trial.) They are published in respected journals, mostly within the last ten, if not five years. Please feel free to use these articles to educate yourself and share our resources with your friends and family who could benefit from this information.
Yoga for Joy
- Yoga meets positive psychology: examining the integration of hedonic (gratitude) and eudaimonic (meaning) wellbeing in relation to the extent of yoga practice. Ivtzan I, Papantoniou A. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Apr;18(2):183-9.
- National survey of yoga practitioners: mental and physical health benefits. Ross A, Friedmann E, Bevans M, Thomas S. Complement Ther Med. 2013 Aug;21(4):313-23.
- Case study of ecstatic meditation: fMRI and EEG evidence of self-stimulating a reward system. Hagerty MR, Isaacs J, Brasington L, Shupe L, Fetz EE, Cramer SC. Neural Plast. 2013;2013:653572.
- A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi. Jahnke R, Larkey L, Rogers C, Etnier J, Lin F. Am J Health Promot. 2010 Jul-Aug;24(6):e1-e25.
- Neuroscience of meditation. Deshmukh VD. ScientificWorldJournal. 2006 Nov 16;6:2239-53.
- The science of well-being: an integrated approach to mental health and its disorders. Cloninger CR. World Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;5(2):71-6.
- Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Lazar SW, Kerr CE, Wasserman RH, Gray JR, Greve DN, Treadway MT, McGarvey M, Quinn BT, Dusek JA, Benson H, Rauch SL, Moore CI, Fischl B. Neuroreport. 2005 Nov 28;16(17):1893-7.
- Cerebral blood flow changes during chanting meditation. Khalsa DS, Amen D, Hanks C, Money N, Newberg A. Nucl Med Commun. 2009 Dec; 30(12):956-61.
- Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF. Psychosom Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;65(4):564-70.
- Yoga’s impact on inflammation, mood, and fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Bennett JM, Andridge R, Peng J, Shapiro CL, Malarkey WB, Emery CF, Layman R, Mrozek EE, Glaser R. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Apr 1;32(10):1040-9.
- Randomized, controlled trial of yoga in women with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy. Chandwani KD, Perkins G, Nagendra HR, Raghuram NV, Spelman A, Nagarathna R, Johnson K, Fortier A, Arun B, Wei Q, Kirschbaum C, Haddad R, Morris GS, Scheetz J, Chaoul A, Cohen L. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Apr 1;32(10):1058-65.
- Multicenter, randomized controlled trial of yoga for sleep quality among cancer survivors. Mustian KM, Sprod LK, Janelsins M, Peppone LJ, Palesh OG, Chandwani K, Reddy PS, Melnik MK, Heckler C, Morrow GR. J Clin Oncol. 2013 Sep 10;31(26):3233-41.
- Yoga for persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Bower JE, Garet D, Sternlieb B, Ganz PA, Irwin MR, Olmstead R, Greendale G. Cancer. 2012 Aug 1;118(15):3766-75.
- Milbury K, Chaoul A, Biegler K, Wangyal T, Spelman A, Meyers CA, Arun B, Palmer JL, Taylor J, Cohen L. Psychooncology. 2013 May 9.
- Psychological adjustment and sleep quality in a randomized trial of the effects of a Tibetan yoga intervention in patients with lymphoma. Cohen L, Warneke C, Fouladi RT, Rodriguez MA, Chaoul-Reich A. Cancer. 2004 May 15;100(10):2253-60.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic Heart Failure
Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic Low Back Pain
- A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, Dobos G. Clin J Pain. 2013 May;29(5):450-60.
- Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial. Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, Kang’ombe AR, Chuang LH, Jayakody S, Aplin JD, Semlyen A, Trewhela A, Watt I, Torgerson DJ. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Nov 1;155(9):569-78.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on chronic low back pain. Williams K, Abildso C, Steinberg L, Doyle E, Epstein B, Smith D, Hobbs G, Gross R, Kelley G, Cooper L. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Sep 1;34(19):2066-76.
- Tai chi exercise for treatment of pain and disability in people with persistent low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Hall AM, Maher CG, Lam P, Ferreira M, Latimer J. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Nov;63(11):1576-83.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- A yoga intervention for type 2 diabetes risk reduction: a pilot randomized controlled trial. McDermott KA, Rao MR, Nagarathna R, Murphy EJ, Burke A, Nagendra RH, Hecht FM. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Jul 1;14:212.
- The effect of Tai Chi on health-related quality of life in people with elevated blood glucose or diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Liu X, Miller YD, Burton NW, Chang JH, Brown WJ. Qual Life Res. 2013 Sep;22(7):1783-6.
- Effects of antenatal yoga on maternal anxiety and depression: a randomized controlled trial. Newham JJ, Wittkowski A, Hurley J, Aplin JD, Westwood M. Depress Anxiety. 2014 Aug;31(8):631-40.
- The effect of prenatal Hatha yoga on affect, cortisol and depressive symptoms. Bershadsky S, Trumpfheller L, Kimble HB, Pipaloff D, Yim IS. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 May;20(2):106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Jan 24.
- Tai chi/yoga reduces prenatal depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Field T, Diego M, Delgado J, Medina L. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2013 Feb;19(1):6-10.
- Randomized controlled trial of yoga for chronic poststroke hemiparesis: motor function, mental health, and quality of life outcomes. Immink MA, Hillier S, Petkov J.
Top Stroke Rehabil. 2014 May-Jun;21(3):256-71.
- Effect of Tai Chi on physical function, fall rates and quality of life among older stroke survivors. Taylor-Piliae RE, Hoke TM, Hepworth JT, Latt LD, Najafi B, Coull BM. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 May;95(5):816-24.
- Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, Gould NF, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R, Berger Z, Sleicher D, Maron DD, Shihab HM, Ranasinghe PD, Linn S, Saha S, Bass EB, Haythornthwaite JA. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Mar;174(3):357-68.
- Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity. Hoge EA, Bui E, Marques L, Metcalf CA, Morris LK, Robinaugh DJ, Worthington JJ, Pollack MH, Simon NM. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Aug;74(8):786-92.
- Yoga on our minds: a systematic review of yoga for neuropsychiatric disorders. Balasubramaniam M, Telles S, Doraiswamy PM. Front Psychiatry. 2013 Jan 25;3:117.
- A randomised comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety. Smith C, Hancock H, Blake-Mortimer J, Eckert K. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):77-83.
- Tai Chi and Qigong for the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. Abbott R, Lavretsky H. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Mar;36(1):109-19.
- Tai chi and reduction of depressive symptoms for older adults: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Chi I, Jordan-Marsh M, Guo M, Xie B, Bai Z. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2013 Jan;13(1):3-12.
- Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Chen KW, Berger CC, Manheimer E, Forde D, Magidson J, Dachman L, Lejuez CW. Depress Anxiety. 2012 Jul;29(7):545-62.
- Mindfulness Therapy Work as Well as Antidepressants, Major Study Finds. Dicker, Rachel. US News & World Report. 2016 April. Web. 2016 June.
Memory/ Cognitive Function
- Examining Mechanisms of Change in a Yoga Intervention for Women: The Influence of Mindfulness, Psychological Flexibility, and Emotion Regulation on PTSD Symptoms. Dick AM, Niles BL, Street AE, DiMartino DM, Mitchell KS. J Clin Psychol. 2014 May 28.
- Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial. van der Kolk BA, Stone L, West J, Rhodes A, Emerson D, Suvak M, Spinazzola J. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;75(6):e559-65.
- Effect of transcendental meditation on employee stress, depression, and burnout: a randomized controlled study. Elder C, Nidich S, Moriarty F, Nidich R. Perm J. 2014 Winter;18(1):19-23
- Building bridges for yoga therapy research: the Aetna, Inc. mind-body pilot study on chronic and high stress. Kusnick C, Kraftsow G, Hilliker M. Int J Yoga Therap. 2012;(22):91-2.
- Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: a randomized controlled trial. Wolever RQ, Bobinet KJ, McCabe K, Mackenzie ER, Fekete E, Kusnick CA, Baime M. J Occup Health Psychol. 2012 Apr;17(2):246-58.
- A randomized, controlled trial of meditation for work stress, anxiety and depressed mood in full-time workers. Manocha R, Black D, Sarris J, Stough C. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:960583.
- The effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace. Hartfiel N, Havenhand J, Khalsa SB, Clarke G, Krayer A. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 Jan;37(1):70-6.
- Functional fitness improvements after a worksite-based yoga initiative. Cowen VS. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2010 Jan;14(1):50-4.
Children and Adolescents
- Efficacy of the Get Ready to Learn yoga program among children with autism spectrum disorders: a pretest-posttest control group design. Koenig KP, Buckley-Reen A, Garg S. Am J Occup Ther. 2012 Sep-Oct;66(5):538-46.
- Relaxation response-based yoga improves functioning in young children with autism: a pilot study. Rosenblatt LE, Gorantla S, Torres JA, Yarmush RS, Rao S, Park ER, Denninger JW, Benson H, Fricchione GL, Bernstein B, Levine JB. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Nov;17(11):1029-35.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Anxiety and Mood
- Randomized, controlled, six-month trial of yoga in healthy seniors: effects on cognition and quality of life. Oken BS, Zajdel D, Kishiyama S, Flegal K, Dehen C, Haas M, Kraemer DF, Lawrence J, Leyva J. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):40-7.
- Tai Chi and fall reductions in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Li F, Harmer P, Fisher KJ, McAuley E, Chaumeton N, Eckstrom E, Wilson NL. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Feb;60(2):187-94.