Yoga Research & Journal Articles

An ever-growing body of evidence is proving that Yoga is extremely beneficial to those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.

Don’t take my word for it. Positive clinical and metabolic changes in persons with Type 2 diabetes have been observed in as little as one practice session. Researchers have discovered that doing Yoga can not only alleviate the symptoms of diabetes, but also suggest that yoga therapy can prevent, treat, and sometimes reverse the effects of diabetes. Below is a collection of just a few research papers worth taking a look at. The list is growing weekly.

NOTE: Some links require a paid account for access to the full text.

Effect of 3-Month Yoga on Oxidative Stress in Type 2 Diabetes with or Without Complication

Diabetes Care (2012; 35(4), pp. 2208-2210.)
Hegde, S.V., Adhikari, P., Kotian, S., Pinto, V.J., D’Souza, S., D’Souza, V.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “In comparison with standard care alone, yoga resulted in significant reduction in BMI, glycemic control, and malondialdehyde and increase in glutathione and vitamin C. There were no differences in waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, vitamin E, or superoxide dismutase in the yoga group at follow-up. Yoga can be used as an effective therapy in reducing oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes. Yoga in addition to standard care helps reduce BMI and improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients.”


Effect Of (Hatha Yoga) Exercise Therapy on Lipid Profile and Oxidative Stress Indicators in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2008; 8, pp. 8-21.)
Gordon, L.A., Morrison, E.Y., McGrowder, D.A., Young, R., Fraser, Y.T.P., Zamora, E.M., Alexander, Lindo, R.L., & Irving, R.R.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “The concentrations of fasting blood glucose in the Hatha Yoga and conventional physical training exercise groups after six months decreased by 29.48% and 27.43% respectively and there was a significant reduction in serum total cholesterol in both groups. The study demonstrates the efficacy of Hatha yoga exercise on fasting blood glucose, lipid profile, oxidative stress markers and antioxidant status in patients with type 2 diabetes and suggest that Hatha yoga exercise and conventional PT exercise may have therapeutic preventative and protective effects on diabetes mellitus by decreasing oxidative stress and improving antioxidant status.”


The Influence of Yoga-Based Programs on Risk Profiles in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2007; 4(4), pp. 469–486.)
Innes, K.E. & Vincent, H.K.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “A growing number of studies suggest that Yoga may improve indices of risk in adults with type 2 diabetes, including glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, anthropometric characteristics and blood pressure. Limited data also indicate that yoga may reduce oxidative damage, improve coagulation profiles and pulmonary function, and decrease sympathetic activation in adults with diabetes and related chronic disorders. Yoga may also be useful in reducing medication requirements in patients with diabetes and could help prevent and manage cardiovascular complications in this population.”


Yoga Practice in People with Diabetes

International Journal of Yoga Therapy (2003; 13(1), pp. 69-73.)
Mercuri, N., Olivera, E.M., Souto, A.& Guidi, M.L.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Yoga practices not only enhance the body sensitivity and capacity to interpret signals related to stress, but also are supposed to change the personal attitude toward different life circumstances.  The practice of Yoga is a potential effective method to manage stress, thus contributing to the control of hyperglycemia, particularly in people with type 2 DM associated with mild hypertension. The immediate positive effect of Yoga practices on glycemia and HR suggests that such practices would be beneficial for the treatment of people with diabetes mellitus.”


Diabetes Mellitus, Ayurveda, and Yoga

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2004; 10(2), pp. 223–225.)
Manyam, B.V.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Studies have shown that incorporation of yoga in the management of DM has resulted in reduction in the dosage of hypoglycemic agents and insulin, control over weight, increased glucose tolerance, and reduction in hyperglycemia.”


Ayurveda For Diabetes Mellitus: A Review of The Biomedical Literature

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (2004; 10(1), pp. 44-50.)
Elder. C.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “There is a considerable amount of data from both animal and human trials suggesting efficacy of Ayurvedic interventions in managing diabetes. However, the reported human trials generally fall short of contemporary methodological standards. More research is needed in the area of Ayurvedic treatment of diabetes, assessing both whole practice and individual modalities.”


A Review of Yoga Programs for Four Leading Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2007; 4(4), pp. 487-491.)
Yang, K.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Of the six studies that examined blood glucose, all found that yoga was effective in reducing blood glucose levels.”


A Brief but Comprehensive Lifestyle Education Program Based on Yoga Reduces Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mellitus

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2005; 11(2), pp. 267-74.)
Bijlani, R.L., Vempati, R.P., Yadav, R.K., Ray, R.B., Gupta, V., Sharma. R., Mehta, N., & Mahapatra, S.C.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Fasting plasma glucose, serum total cholesterol, and total triglycerides were significantly lower on the last day of the course compared to the first day of the course. The changes were more marked in subjects with hyperglycemia. The observations suggest that a short lifestyle modification and stress management education program leads to favorable metabolic effects within a period of 9 days.”


A Yoga Intervention for Type 2 Diabetes Risk Reduction: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2014; 14, p. 212.)
McDermott, K.A., Rao, M.R., Nagarathna, R., Murphy, E.J., Burke, A., Nagendra, R.H., Hecht, F.M.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Forty-one participants with elevated fasting blood glucose were randomized to either yoga or a walking control for eight weeks (conducted in Bangalore, India). Yoga participants had significantly greater reductions in weight, waist circumference, and BMI versus control. There were significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, anxiety, depression, negative affect and perceived stress in both the yoga intervention and walking control over the course of the study. Yoga offers a promising lifestyle intervention for decreasing weight-related type 2 diabetes risk factors and potentially increasing psychological well-being. Results indicate that yoga is a feasible intervention strategy and may help reduce weight, BMI and waist circumference, three important factors in T2DM risk.”


Micronutrient Absorption and Yoga

Yoga Mimamsa (2012; 44(1), p. 31.)
Verma, A.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “The question is posed: Is it possible that micronutrient absorption can help the body to heal?”


Yoga for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials

Journal of Diabetes Research (2016; Article ID 6979370, 23 pages.)
Innes, K.E., & Selfe, T.K.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Findings suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in DM2 management, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition. More limited data suggest that yoga may also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure; enhance pulmonary and autonomic function, mood, sleep, and quality of life; and reduce medication use in adults with DM2.”


Yoga: A Potential Solution for Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome

Indian Journal of Medical Research (2015; 141(6), pp. 753–756.)
Naik, D. & Thomas, N.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Short-term studies on yoga have been found to be moderately effective in reducing various risk factors of prediabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Studies have shown a beneficial impact on achieving glycemic control in type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus. However, there was heterogeneity in the methodology and the sample sizes across the various studies. However, in majority of these studies, the sample size was small and the duration of the studies was short. There was also a variability in the pattern of yoga, type of yoga and timing of individual sessions among all studies.”


Effect of Yoga on Autonomic Functions in Medical Students: A Pilot Study

International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (2015; 3(5), pp. 1046-1051.)
Shashikiran, H.C., Prashanth, S., Chethan, K.R., & Shivaprasad, S.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Lower heart rates in experienced yoga practitioners can hence be attributed to its influence on the autonomic nervous system through the brain stem region. Practicing yoga regularly for one year can reduce the physiological arousal and develop the ability to adopt to a demanding situation.”


Yoga Improves Functional Gait and Health-Related Quality of Life for Adults with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

The American Journal Of Occupational Therapy (2016; 70(7011515269), p.1.)
Phillips, C.E., Schmid, A.A., Willis, L.A., Sample, P.L., Tracy, B.L., Hinsey, K.M., Bolster, R.A., & Van Puymbroeck, M.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Both components of functional gait improved significantly, walking endurance by 15% and walking speed by 23%. Results demonstrate that yoga is a potential intervention to promote positive improvements in hrqol and functional gait, including both walking speed and walking endurance, in individuals with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.”


Impact of Yoga on Balance, Balance Confidence and Occupational Performance for Adults with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Pilot Study

British Journal of Occupational Therapy (2017; 80(3), pp. 155-162.)
Willis Boslego, L.A., Munterfering Phillips, C.E., Atler, K.E., Tracy, B.L., Van Puymbroeck, M., & Schmid, A.A.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSION: “Significant improvements were found for balance, balance confidence, perceived occupational performance, and satisfaction. Research suggests that balance, balance confidence, perceived occupational performance, and satisfaction significantly improve after 8-weeks of yoga for adults with DPN. The results indicate change to the whole person (mind and body) and may be due to an increased sense of self-efficacy and positive emotion.”


Hatha Yoga Practice for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients: A Pilot Study

International Journal of Yoga Therapy (2013; 23(2), pp. 59-65.)
Vizcaino, M.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSION: “Hatha yoga practice may be a complementary therapeutic option for individuals with T2DM. Potential benefits include improvements in glycemic control through decreases in psychological stress, which in turn may decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and enable greater compliance with self-care behaviors.”


Acute Effect of Breathing Exercises on Heart Rate Variability in Type 2 Diabetes

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2014; 20(8), pp. 642–648.)
Grieco, C.R., Colberg, S.R., Somma, C.T., Thompson, A.G., & Vinik, A.I.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “O data indicate a clinically small, but significant, effect of uni-nostril breathing on resting heart rate and heart rate variability in a population of older individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Slow, paced breathing and uni-nostril breathing, however, had no impact upon resting heart rate or heart rate variability in an older, normoglycemic population. There is a growing body of evidence linking yogic-style breathing exercises with autonomic modulation and cardiovascular control. Given the established association between vagal modulation and cardiovascular complications, and the current popularity of yoga and the relative ease of yogic breathing techniques, further research into the autonomic-modifying effects of pranayama is warranted as this shows some promise as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.”


Importance of Yoga in Diabetes and Dyslipidemia

International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (2016; 4(8), pp. 3504-3508.)
Mohammed, R., Banu, A. Imran S., Jaiswal, R.K.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Four months of study has shown that patients enrolled in study group had mild decrease in BMI, and body weight which was not statistically significant but there was a significant reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. In view of the benefits of yoga therapy in short-term studies and long-term studies, more awareness and emphasis should be given for it.  Yoga can help in improved lipid profiles, lower BMI, and lowers glycemic levels which can have a long term beneficial effect on Micro and macro-vascular complications in diabetes.”


Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus by Changes in Lifestyle among Subjects with Impaired Glucose Tolerance

The New England Journal of Medicine (2001; 334(18) pp. 1343-1350.)
Tuomilehto, J., Lindström, J., Eriksson,J.G., Valle, T.T., Hämäläinen, H., Ilanne-Parikka, P., Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, S., Laakso, M., Louheranta, A.,  Rastas, M., Salminen, V., Aunola, S.,  Cepaitis, Z., Eng, D., Moltchanov, V., Hakumäki, M., Mannelin, M., Martikkala, V., Sundvall, J., Uusitupa, M.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Waist circumference, the fasting plasma glucose concentration, the plasma glucose concentration two hours after oral glucose challenge, and the serum insulin concentration two hours after glucose challenge decreased significantly more among subjects in the intervention group than among those in the control group. This study provides evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented by changes in the lifestyles of both women and men at high risk for the disease. In this study, the overall incidence of diabetes was reduced by 58 percent.”


Role of Yoga in Preventing and Controlling Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (2012; 17(2), pp. 88-95.)
Sharma, M. & Knowlden, A.P.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Of the 11 studies that measured changes in fasting blood glucose, 9 showed significant decrease. Yoga-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus hold much promise. Yoga is a cost-effective treatment that is free of negative side effects. Yoga as a potential treatment modality can be advanced by expanding research to more Western countries, applying more rigorous research designs, increasing dosage and long-term evaluation, using theory-based frameworks, and including intervention implementation process evaluation.”


The Benefits of Yoga for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Review of the Evidence and Call for a Collaborative, Integrated Research Initiative

International Journal of Yoga Therapy (2013; 23(2), pp. 71-83.)
de G. R. Hansen, E. & Innes, K.E.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “This article summarizes evidence regarding the efficacy of yoga for Type 2 diabetes management and encourages the development of an integrated research agenda and a collaborative work group to test it. It is imperative that yoga researchers and therapists collaborate to create a foundation for future research on Type 2 diabetes. This research has the potential to create a sound evidence base of sufficient rigor to ensure the incorporation of yoga into the standard care and management of T2DM. Yoga protocols that serve Type 2 diabetes patients and a research framework for creating an evidence base to support the use of yoga for Type 2 diabetes management are clearly needed.”


Utilization of 3-Month Yoga Program for Adults at High Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Study

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2011; Article ID 257891, 6 pages.)
Yang, K., Bernardo, L.M. Sereika, S.M., Conroy, M.B., Balk, J. Burke, L.E.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “The results of this pilot study suggest that a yoga program could potentially be a risk reduction option for adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes. The Yoga group experienced improvements in weight, blood pressure, insulin, triglycerides and exercise self-efficacy indicated by small to large effect sizes. This preliminary study indicates that a Yoga program would be a possible risk reduction option for adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes. In addition, Yoga holds promise as an approach to reducing cardiometabolic risk factors and increasing exercise self-efficacy for this group.”


Yoga and Hypertension: A Systematic Review

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (2014; 20(2), pp. 32-59.)
Tyagi, A. & Cohen, M.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “Yoga is a spiritual path that may reduce blood pressure (BP) through reducing stress, increasing parasympathetic activation, and altering baroreceptor sensitivity. Studies suggest that yoga is an effective adjunct therapy for HPT and worthy of inclusion in clinical guidelines, yet the great heterogeneity of yoga practices and the variable quality of the research makes it difficult to recommend any specific yoga practice for hypertension. Future research needs to focus on high quality clinical trials along with studies on the mechanisms of action of different yoga practices.”


Yoga Practice for the Management of Type II Diabetes Mellitus in Adults: A Systematic Review

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2010; 7(4), pp. 399–408.)
Aljasir, B., Bryson, M. & Al-shehri, B.

HIGHLIGHTS/CONCLUSIONS: “The studies’ results show improvement in outcomes among patients with diabetes type II. None of the included trials report any side effects for yoga practice. Short-term benefits for patients with diabetes might be achieved from practicing yoga. Further analysis of practice details and frequency are needed. The important recommendation that can be drawn from this systematic review is the need for well-designed large randomized clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of yoga on diabetes type II. Studying the long-term impact of yoga and its side effects is needed and likely stipulates standardized monitoring and reporting.”


“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
“Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”
“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”
“A wish to be well is part of becoming well.”


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