246 Health Benefits of Yoga

Want the facts before you step on the mat? I’ve analysed over 300 different medical studies on the ways in which yoga helps us – with our body and mind. I’ve was amazed to find that there are 246 known benefits of yoga, and I want to share them with you.

Want the facts before you step on the mat? I’ve analysed over 300 different medical studies on the ways in which yoga helps us – with our body and mind. I’ve was amazed to find that there are 246 known benefits of yoga, and I want to share them with you.

The science behind the health benefits of yoga

You can find all of the 300 case studies, medical journals and reports that we used to create this list on YogaMeds, where we have collected all the science behind the benefits of yoga, for the everyday yogi as well as for the treatment of a variety of health conditions and diseases.

Go to http://www.beginnersyogaguide.com/YogaMeds to find links to the studies we used, so that you can read them in depth. Alternatively, hover over these conditions to find information on the benefits of yoga for:

Alcoholism, Alzheimer's, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Back pain, Cancer, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Depression, Diabetes, Drug addiction, Eating disorders, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Headache/Migraine, Heart disease, High blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, IBS, Infertility, Insomnia, Memory loss, Menopause, Multiple sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Neck pain, Obesity, OCD, Parkinson's, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Sciatica, Smoking, and Stress.

246 health benefits of yoga

  1. Alleviates anger
  2. Alleviates belching
  3. Alleviates bloating
  4. Alleviates depression
  5. Alleviates fatigue
  6. Alleviates flatulence
  7. Alleviates obsessive compulsive disorder
  8. Alleviates symptoms
  9. Beneficial effects on physical function
  10. Beneficial effects on psychological symptoms
  11. Beneficial effects on somatic symptoms
  12. Better coping strategies
  13. Boosts immunity (buffers CD4+ T lymphocyte declines)
  14. Boosts vigour
  15. Changes care-givers perceptions of patients
  16. Changes in eating behaviour
  17. Controls systolic and diastolic blood pressure (when combined with a drug regime)
  18. Controls pulse rate (when combined with a drug regime)
  19. Controls body weight (when combined with a drug regime)
  20. Creating a positive state of mind
  21. Decline in diastolic blood pressure amongst those practicing at home
  22. Decrease in serum leptin levels
  23. Decreased HAQ disability index
  24. Decreased perception of depression
  25. Decreased perception of pain
  26. Decreases cortisol levels
  27. Decreases C-reactive protein
  28. Decreases criminal activities
  29. Decreases post-traumatic stress avoidance symptoms
  30. Decreases time to get to sleep
  31. Enhances emotional regulation
  32. Faster recovery from stress (even better in Shavasana than in chair and resting supine posture)
  33. Fewer disordered eating attitudes
  34. Fosters relaxation
  35. Greater emotional acceptance
  36. Higher levels of acceptance
  37. Higher levels of invigoration
  38. Improved balance
  39. Improved body awareness
  40. Improved EEG management
  41. Improved mood
  42. Improved seizure control
  43. Improved sleep quality
  44. Improved symptom management
  45. Improved upper and lower body flexibility
  46. Improvement for mild Alzheimer's sufferers in 'Activities of Daily Living' (ADL). Routine activities that well people do everyday without assistance: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking and continence.
  47. Improvement in average forced vital capacity
  48. Improvement in Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised (FIQR) score
  49. Improvement in PEFR, VC, FVC, FEV1, FEV/FEC %, MVV, ESR and absolute eosinophil count
  50. Improvements in Rheumatoid Arthritis disease parameters
  51. Improvement in quality of life amongst those practicing at home
  52. Improvements on the Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale
  53. Improvements on the Perceived Stress Scale
  54. Improvements on the Quality of Recovery Index
  55. Improvements on the Symptoms Checklist-90-R
  56. Improvements on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS)
  57. Improves ability to cope
  58. Improves balance
  59. Improves cardiovascular rhythm
  60. Improves cerebral blood flow
  61. Improves coping behaviour
  62. Improves daily functioning
  63. Improves emotional function/wellbeing
  64. Improves existential wellbeing
  65. Improves feelings of health and wellbeing
  66. Improves glycemic control
  67. Improves handgrip strength
  68. Improves hormone function
  69. Improves immune function
  70. Improves insulin sensitivity
  71. Improves memory
  72. Improves mental health
  73. Improves mood
  74. Improves mood during detox
  75. Improves nerve function
  76. Improves 'Now moments of engagement'
  77. Improves oxygen uptake
  78. Improves patient's adjustment to disease
  79. Improves physical fitness
  80. Improves physical function
  81. Improves postural stability
  82. Improves psychosocial adjustment to disease
  83. Improves pulmonary function
  84. Improves quality of life
  85. Improves quality of life during detox
  86. Improves RA symptoms and functioning
  87. Improves reproductive health
  88. Improves restedness
  89. Improves self-compassion
  90. Improves self-control
  91. Improves self-esteem
  92. Improves sexual desire
  93. Improves sleep onset latency (the time taken to transition from wakefulness to sleep)
  94. Improves sleep quality
  95. Improves social function
  96. Improves social wellbeing
  97. Improves spatial memory
  98. Improves spiritual wellbeing
  99. Improves verbal fluency
  100. Improves vitality
  101. Improves walking speed and endurance
  102. Improves well being
  103. Improves wellbeing
  104. Improves work performance
  105. Improving myocardial perfusion
  106. Increased perceived control
  107. Increased Sense of Coherence (SoC is a disposition to experience life as meaningful and manageable)
  108. Increase in exercise tolerance
  109. Increases ability to relax
  110. Increases body satisfaction
  111. Increases daily spiritual experiences
  112. Increases energy
  113. Increases flexibility
  114. Increases in physical activity
  115. Increases joy
  116. Increases mindfulness
  117. Increases pain tolerance
  118. Increases physiological recovery from alcohol cues
  119. Increases satisfaction and stability
  120. Increases sleep duration
  121. Increases sleep efficiency
  122. Increases spiritual experience
  123. Increases stress resilience
  124. Increases total sleep time
  125. Increases vitality
  126. Increases work attendance
  127. Induces relaxation
  128. Influences levels of melatonin on breast and prostate tumours
  129. Lower levels of pain
  130. Lowers blood glucose
  131. Lowers blood pressure
  132. Lowers cholesterol
  133. Lowers depression
  134. Lowers fear of recurrence
  135. Lowers mood disturbance
  136. Lowers rate of weight gain
  137. Lowers self-objectification
  138. Lowers tension
  139. Lowers triglycerides
  140. Maintains abstinence over time
  141. May aid in the management of CVD
  142. May improve clinical outcomes
  143. MBCT-TS and maintenance antidepressant treatment are both associated with enduring positive outcomes in terms of relapse or recurrence
  144. MBCT-TS and maintenance antidepressant treatment are both associated with enduring positive outcomes in terms of residual depressive symptoms
  145. Modest improvements in balance
  146. Modest improvements in functional mobility
  147. Modest improvements in lower-limb strength
  148. Modulates alcohol attentional bias (the tendency of our perception to be affected by our recurring thoughts)
  149. Modulates DNA damage in radiotherapy
  150. Pain acceptance
  151. Pronounced and significant improvements in perceived stress
  152. Reduced basal electrodermal (skin conductance level) activity.
  153. Reduced waist and hip circumference
  154. Reduces age-related deterioration in cardiovascular function
  155. Reduces alcohol consumption
  156. Reduces and can halt consumption of marijuana
  157. Reduces anger
  158. Reduces anxiety
  159. Reduces binge eating
  160. Reduces blood pressure
  161. Reduces BMI
  162. Reduces bronchoconstriction (EIB)
  163. Reduces cancer-related distress
  164. Reduces cancer-related symptoms
  165. Reduces catastrophic thinking
  166. Reduces catastrophizing
  167. Reduces cholesterol
  168. Reduces cigarette use
  169. Reduces cognitive disorganization
  170. Reduces confusion
  171. Reduces cravings
  172. Reduces diarrhea
  173. Reduces disability scores for rheumatoid factor levels
  174. Reduced drug requirements
  175. Reduces drug use
  176. Reduces drug use for those with PTSD
  177. Reduces effects of daily hassles
  178. Reduces emotional reactivity
  179. Reduces fatigue
  180. Reduces frequency of flushes
  181. Reduces functional disability
  182. Reduces gastrointestinal symptoms
  183. Reduces headache/migraine duration
  184. Reduces headache/migraine frequency
  185. Reduces headache/migraine intensity
  186. Reduces headache/migraine pain rating
  187. Reduces heart rate
  188. Reduces irritability
  189. Reduces medical symptoms
  190. Reduces medication intake
  191. Reduces mood disturbance
  192. Reduces neurotic symptoms
  193. Reduces pain
  194. Reduces pain frequency
  195. Reduces pain intensity
  196. Reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines
  197. Reduces psychological distress
  198. Reduces psychological symptoms
  199. Reduces PTSD symptoms
  200. Reduces risk factors for disesases inclduing cardio-respiratory diseases
  201. Reduces risk of alcohol and drug use
  202. Reduces salivary cortisol
  203. Reduces severity of symptoms
  204. Reduces stiffness
  205. Reduces stress symptoms
  206. Reduces stress which balances hormones
  207. Reduces stress which helps treat mild erectile dysfunction
  208. Reduces stress which improves sex life
  209. Reduced symptoms score
  210. Reduces urinary catecholamines (a response to stress)
  211. Reduces weekly number of asthma attacks
  212. Reduction in antihypertensive drug requirements
  213. Reduction in body mass index
  214. Reduction in obesity-related inflammation
  215. Reduction in psychological distress
  216. Reduction is seizure duration
  217. Reduction in stress hormone levels
  218. Regression of coronary lesions
  219. Renewed participation in an active life
  220. Significant decrease in seizure frequency
  221. Significant improvement in Cervical Range of Motion (CROM)
  222. Significant improvement in Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Hands (DASH) score
  223. Significant improvement in Neck Disability Index (NDI)
  224. Significant improvement in parasympathetic parameters
  225. Significant improvement in Pressure Pain Threshold (PPT) for Trigger Points
  226. Significant improvement in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)
  227. Significant improvement in Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)
  228. Significant improvement in Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS)
  229. Significant improvements in pain
  230. Significant improvements in rigidity
  231. Significant improvements in tenderness
  232. Significant improvements in walking
  233. Significant increase in the pulmonary functions
  234. Significantly reduces blood pressure
  235. Stabilises the autonomic nervous system, towards parasympathetic dominance
  236. Stress reduction
  237. Substantial risk factor reduction
  238. Symptom changes including immediate tremor reduction
  239. Three-year maintenance of gains on the Hamilton and Beck anxiety scales
  240. Three-year maintenance of gains on the Hamilton and Beck depression scales
  241. Three-year maintenance of gains on the Hamilton panic score
  242. Three-year maintenance of gains on the number and severity of panic attacks
  243. Three-year maintenance of gains on the Mobility Index-Accompanied
  244. Three-year maintenance of gains on the Fear Survey
  245. Twenty percent improvement in in mean forced expiratory volume
  246. Weight loss

A note from us…

So, there you have it, the science is in. Even the geekiest yogis out there can’t ignore the benefits of yoga for lifestyle and the body.

Feeling inspired to start your yoga journey? Read our inspiring stories from yogis around the world who are sharing in the benefits of yoga every day. (Put in link to yoga stories)

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Lucy Edge 

is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.