Outcome measures



Park & McCaffrey (2012) Western Ontario and McMasters Arthritis Index (WOMAC)
Epidemiologic Studies Short Depression Scale (CES-D)
Although chair yoga was effective in improving physical function and reducing stiffness in older adults with osteoarthritis (p < .05), it was not effective in reducing pain level or improving depressive symptoms.
Park et al. (2011) Western Ontario and McMasters Arthritis Index (WOMAC)
Epidemiologic Studies Short Depression Scale (CES-D)
Statistically significant decrease in mean score for pain from pretest (M = 8.7) to posttest (M = 3.5, t[5] = 2.6 p = .048) in the chair yoga group; statistically significant decrease in physical function from pretest (M = 32.4) to posttest (M = 16.2), t[4] = 5.4, p = .006) in the chair yoga group
Ebnezar  et al (2011) Short Form 36 (SF-36) Yoga therapy is better than therapeutic exercises as an adjunct to transcutaneous electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment in improving knee disability and quality of life in patients with OA knees (P < 0.001, Mann–Whitney U-test).
Taibi & Vitiello (2011) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI); Insomnia Severity Index (ISI); Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS); Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ); Geriatric Depression Scale(GDS) Pain (VAS) and disability (HAQ-DI) scores were not significantly reduced in this study. Disability scores were fairly low and may have encountered a floor effect.
Severity Index and diary-reported sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, and number of nights with insomnia were significantly improved at post-intervention versus pre-intervention (p < .05).
Ülger et al.
Gait cycle (sec), walking speed (m/sec), maximum walking distance (m), step length (cm), ambulation index Yoga had a positive effect on balance and gait parameters of women with gait and balance disturbances caused by musculoskeletal problems (p < .05).
Bukowski, et al. (2006-07) WOMAC Functional changes and improvement in quality of life in a yoga and traditional exercise that should encourage further compre­hensive and carefully designed studies of yoga in osteoarthritis
Garfinkel et al.
Grip strength
HAQ hand function
Yoga group had significant improvement in grip strength (162 to 187 mm Hg; p = .009) and reduction in pain (5.0 to 2.9 mm; p = .02); controls had no significant change in either measure. On range of motion, the treatment group improved more than the control group. Difference was significant for right hand (p = .002)
Kolasinski et al. (2005) WOMAC; Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale 2 (AIMS2), Patient Global Assessment (GA) by Visual Analog Scale Yoga may provide a feasible treatment option for previously yoga-naïve, obese patients >50 years old with knee osteo­arthritis; potential reduction in pain by 46.7% (p = 0.04) and stiffness by 39.0%
Telles, Dash, & Naveen (2009) Cornell Musculo­skeletal Discomfort Questionnaire; (CMDQ) Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) Yoga group showed significant increases in bilateral hand grip strength, right hand tapping speed, and low back and hamstring flexibility (p < .001). Results suggest that yoga practice is a useful addition to the routine of professional computer users.

Low Back Pain/Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tul et al. (2011) In-depth interviews and observations Patients who benefit from yoga may do so in part because yoga enables changes in cognition and behaviors related to pain
Tilbrook et al. (2011) Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) Yoga group had better back function at 3, 6, and 12 months than usual care group. Yoga group had higher pain self-efficacy scores at 3 and 6 months but not at 12 months. The mean score of the RMDQ was 2.17 points lower in the yoga group at 3 months, 1.48 points (95% CI).
Williams et al. (2009) Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Beck Depres­sion Inventory-Second Edition (BDI-II) Significantly greater reductions in functional disability and pain intensity in yoga group compared to control group at 24 weeks. Significantly greater proportion of yoga subjects also reported clinical improvements at 12 and 24 weeks.
Saper et al.
Modified Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire; SF-36 Mean Roland scores for yoga decreased from 14.5 to 8.2 compared to usual care (p = .28). At 12 weeks, yoga group reported less analgesic use (13% vs. 73%, p =.003), less opiate use (0% vs. 33%, p = .040), and greater overall improvement (73% vs. 27%, p = .03) compared to usual care
Groessl et al.
Single visual numeric scale (range 0–10); Medical Outcomes Study, CESD-10; Health-Related Quali­ty of Life (HRQOL) Yoga intervention for VA patients with chronic back pain may improve the health of veterans
Tekur et al.
Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) Significant reduction in ODI scores in yoga group compared to control group (p = .01); greater improvement in spinal flexibility in yoga group compared to controls: spinal flexion (p = .008), spinal extension (p = .002), right lateral flexion (p = .059), left lateral flexion (p = .006)

Sherman et al.
Modified 24-point Roland Disability Scale
bothersomeness of pain
Back-related function in yoga group was superior to the book and exercise groups at 12 weeks (yoga vs. book: mean differ­ence -3.4 [95% CI, -5.1 to -1.6], < .001; yoga vs. exercise: mean difference -1.8 [CI, -3.5 to -0.1], p = .034); yoga was more effective than a self-care book for improving function and reducing chronic low back pain; benefits persisted for at least several months
Williams et al.
Pain Disability Index (PDI); Short Form McGill Pain Question­naire (SF-MPQ); Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK); Survey of Pain Atti­tudes (SOPA); Coping Strategies Question­naire-Revised (CSQ-R) Functional outcomes revealed significant reductions in pain intensity (64%), functional disability (77%), and pain medication usage (88%) in the yoga group at posttest and 3-month follow-up
Galantino et al. (2004) Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) questionnaires Functional measures of the functional reach and sit reach improved in 64% and 90%, respectively, of the experimental group, while only 2 (20%) subjects of the control group improved.
Bosch et al.
Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ); Berg Balance Test; Visual Analog Pain Scale; Beck Depression Inventory Yoga showed significantly decreased HAQ disability index, decreased perception of pain and depression, and improved balance (p = .12)
Badsha et al.
DAS-28; HAQ Pain Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ); and Quality of Life (QOL) by SF-36 Statistically significant improvements in disease activity (p ≤  .05); some patients in yoga group decreased or discontinued rheumatoid arthritis medications
Dash & Telles
Grip strength Yoga practice improved hand grip strength in normal persons and in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, although magnitude of improvement varied with factors such as gender and age


Curtis et al. (2011) McGill Pain Question­naire short-form 2 (MPQ-SF-2),
Numeric Rating Scale (NRS)
Sum of Local Areas of Pain (SLAP)
Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) Pain Disability Index Chronic Pain Acceptance Ques­tionnaire (CPAQ) Salivary cortisol measurement
Yoga intervention may reduce pain (pre = 5.18 ± 1.72; post = 4.44 ± 2.03) and catastro­phizing (pre = 25.33 ± 14.77; post = 20.40 ± 17.01), increase acceptance (pre = 60.47 ± 23.43; post = 65.50 ± 22.93) and mindfulness (pre = 120.21 ± 21.80; post = 130.63 ± 20.82), and alter total cortisol levels in women with FM.
Carson et al. (2010) Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised (FIQR); Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) Yoga group had significant improvement on standardized measures of fibromyalgia symptoms and functioning, including pain (β =-1.47, t = -5.90, p < .0001), fatigue (β = -1.68, t = -6.23, p <.0001), and mood (β = -1.34, t = -4.92, p < .0001), and in pain catastrophizing, acceptance (β = 1.20, t = 5.10, p < .0001), and relaxation coping strategies (β = 1.38, t = 4.36, p < .0001)
da Silva et al. (2007) Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ); Visual Analog Scale (VAS) Both groups showed improvement in FIQ and VAS scores, which decreased on all sessions; RYT group showed lower VAS and verbal scores for pain on the eighth session


Yağlı & Ülger Ö (2012) Quality of life (QoL) was evaluated using Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). Timed Up and Go Test (TUG) visual analog scale (VAS)  QoL scores after the yoga program were better than scores obtained before the yoga program (p < 0.05). After sessions, there was a statistically significant decrease in their TUG mobility scores (p < 0.05). When the initial values were compared with the after yoga program values, the severity of pain showed a diminish (p < 0.05).
Tüzün et al. (2010) Quality of Life Questionnaire of the European Foundation for Osteoporosis Yoga education had a positive effect on pain (pre = 11.92 ± 4.89; post = 8.62 ± 3.20, physical function (pre = 6.69 ± 1.44; post = 5.15 ± 0.90, social functions (pre = 19.38  ± 4.94 ; post = 17.62  ± 4.72), and general health perception (pre = 10.08 ± 2.06; post = 7.46 ±  1.61.
Fishman et al. (2009) Bone Mineral Density (BMD); dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan Five patients with osteopenia were reclassified as normal; 2 patients with osteoporosis were classified as osteopenic; no injuries reported
Balk et al. (2009) Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), urinary bone resorp­tion marker, urinary N-telopeptide (uNTX), Amount of yoga practice was significantly correlated with BAP levels (r = .68, p = .09). A weaker, nonsignificant correlation was found between the amount of yoga practice and uNTX levels (r = -.54, p = .21). Compared to yoga, other physical activities were less correlated with BAP and uNTX levels. Yoga may have beneficial effects on bone turnover in osteopenic postmenopausal women.
Boyle et al. (2004) Aerobics Longitudinal Study Physical Activ­ity Questionnaire (ALSPAQ); Body Awareness Question­naire VAS scores were higher before yoga class than after yoga class at 24 hours (21.4 |± 6.91 mm VK. 11.1 |± 4.1J mm; p = .02). SR was greater in yoga group than in control group (65.0 7.9] cm vs. 33.3 [± 7.01 cm]
Oken et al. (2004) Profile of Mood States, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Multi-Dimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI), and Short Form (SF)-36 health-related quality of life Subjects with MS participating in either a 6-month yoga class or exercise class showed significant improvement in measures of fatigue (pre = 11.4 ± 4.7; post = 10.7 ± 4.0) compared to a wait-list control group (pre = 11.7 ± 3.5; post = 11.2 ± 3.9. There was no relative improvement of cognitive function in either of the intervention groups.
Garfinkel et al. (1998) Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Phalen sign and Tinel sign Yoga group improved significantly more than control group in pain (decreased from 5.0 to 2.9 mm; p = .02) during activity, tenderness, and finger range of motion; other trends also favored the yoga program; yoga was effective in providing relief for hand osteoarthritis
Table 2: Studies in Systematic Review of Yoga Interventions: Measures and Results.