Scientific Research on Yoga > Basic Research > Psychophysiology

Other Research Categories

Psychophysiology Neurophysiology, Endocrinology, Neuroimaging, Gene Expression, Immune Function, Inflammatory Physiology, Metabolism

Video Spotlight: Neuroimaging

Watch this video to learn more about the research conducted on yoga and neuroimaging.

Our hope is for yoga schools and yoga teachers to utilize this impactful content in their teachings to promote and highlight yoga's evident multi-faceted ability to improve lives. Let us know how research on yoga is important or valuable to you on social media (@YogaAlliance) or by emailing us at We honor and value your personal experiences and look forward to featuring your stories.

These citations were curated by Yoga Alliance's Director of Yoga Research, Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa.

Review Papers

Review Papers (What's this?)

Effects of Mind⁻Body Exercises (Tai Chi/Yoga) on Heart Rate Variability Parameters and Perceived Stress: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.
Zou L, Sasaki JE, Wei GX, Huang T, Yeung AS, Neto OB, Chen KW, Hui SS.
J Clin Med. 2018 Oct 31;7(11).
[ full text ]

Yoga and immune system functioning: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Falkenberg RI, Eising C, Peters ML.
J Behav Med. 2018 Aug;41(4):467-482.
[ abstract ]

A systematic review of psychoneuroimmunology-based interventions.
Moraes LJ, Miranda MB, Loures LF, Mainieri AG, Mármora CHC.
Psychol Health Med. 2018 Jul;23(6):635-652.
[ abstract ]

Yogic practices on oxidative stress and of antioxidant level: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Pal R, Gupta N.
J Complement Integr Med. 2017 Oct 25 (preprint)
[ abstract ]

What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind-Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices.
Buric I, Farias M, Jong J, Mee C, Brazil IA.
Front Immunol. 2017 Jun 16;8:670.
[ full text ]

The embodied mind: A review on functional genomic and neurological correlates of mind-body therapies.
Muehsam D, Lutgendorf S, Mills PJ, Rickhi B, Chevalier G, Bat N, Chopra D, Gurfein B.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Feb;73:165-181.
[ abstract ]

A selective review of dharana and dhyana in healthy participants.
Telles S, Singh N, Gupta RK, Balkrishna A.
J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2016 Oct - Dec;7(4):255-260.
[ full text ]

Can yoga therapy stimulate stem cell trafficking from bone marrow?
Shree N, Bhonde RR.
J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2016 Jul - Sep;7(3):181-184.
[ full text ]

Yoga and heart rate variability: A comprehensive review of the literature.
Tyagi A, Cohen M.
Int J Yoga. 2016 Jul-Dec;9(2):97-113.
[ full text ]

Yoga research review.
Field T.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Aug;24:145-61.
[ abstract ]

Nasal airflow and brain activity: is there a link?
Price A, Eccles R.
J Laryngol Otol. 2016 Sep;130(9):794-9.
[ abstract ]

Yoga for Heart Rate Variability: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.
Posadzki P, Kuzdzal A, Lee MS, Ernst E.
Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2015 Sep;40(3):239-49.
[ abstract ]

Is one yoga style better than another? A systematic review of associations of yoga style and conclusions in randomized yoga trials.
Cramer H, Lauche R, Langhorst J, Dobos G.
Complement Ther Med. 2016 Apr;25:178-87.
[ abstract ]

Neurophysiological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the effects of yoga-based practices: towards a comprehensive theoretical framework.
Schmalzl L, Powers C, Henje Blom E.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 May 8;9:235.
[ full text ]

Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behavior and Anxiety-A Modern Scientific Perspective.
Krishnakumar D, Hamblin MR, Lakshmanan S.
Anc Sci. 2015 Apr;2(1):13-19.
[ full text ]

The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies.
Boccia M, Piccardi L, Guariglia P.
Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:419808.
[ full text ]

How does yoga reduce stress? A systematic review of mechanisms of change and guide to future inquiry.
Riley KE, Park CL.
Health Psychol Rev. 2015;9(3):379-96
[ abstract ] [ full text ]

Meditation reduces pain-related neural activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and thalamus.
Nakata H, Sakamoto K, Kakigi R.
Front Psychol. 2014 Dec 16;5:1489.
[ full text ]

Disentangling the neural mechanisms involved in Hinduism- and Buddhism-related meditations.
Tomasino B, Chiesa A, Fabbro F.
Brain Cogn. 2014 Oct;90:32-40.
[ abstract ]

Role of yoga and meditation in the context of dysfunctional self: a hypothetico-integrative approach.
Singh Y, Goel A, Kathrotia R, Patil PM.
Adv Mind Body Med. 2014 Summer;28(3):22-5.
[ full text ]

The effects of mind-body therapies on the immune system: meta-analysis.
Morgan N, Irwin MR, Chung M, Wang C.
PLoS One. 2014 Jul 2;9(7):e100903.
[ full text ]

Regulation of gene expression by yoga, meditation and related practices: a review of recent studies.
Saatcioglu F.
Asian J Psychiatr. 2013 Feb;6(1):74-7.
[ full text ]

How Might Yoga Work? An Overview of Potential Underlying Mechanisms.
McCall MC.
J Yoga Phys Ther. 2013 3:1.
[ full text ]

Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Saper RB, Ciraulo DA, Brown RP.
Med Hypotheses. 2012 May;78(5):571-9.
[ abstract ]

Hatha yoga practices: energy expenditure, respiratory changes and intensity of exercise.
Ray US, Pathak A, Tomer OS.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:241294.
[ full text ]

Mechanisms of yogic practices in health, aging, and disease.
Kuntsevich V, Bushell WC, Theise ND.
Mt Sinai J Med. 2010 Sep-Oct;77(5):559-69.
[ abstract ]

Protection throughout the life span: the psychoneuroimmunologic impact of Indo-Tibetan meditative and yogic practices.
Olivo EL.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1172:163-71.
[ abstract ]

Yogic exercises and health--a psycho-neuro immunological approach.
Kulkarni DD, Bera TK.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009 Jan-Mar;53(1):3-15.
[ abstract ]

Yoga breathing, meditation, and longevity.
Brown RP, Gerbarg PL.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1172:54-62.
[ abstract ]

Yogic exercises and health--a psycho-neuro immunological approach.
Kulkarni DD, Bera TK.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009 Jan-Mar;53(1):3-15.
[ abstract ]

A review of the literature examining the physiological processes underlying the therapeutic benefits of Hatha yoga.
Dunn KD.
Adv Mind Body Med. 2008 Fall;23(3):10-8.
[ abstract ]

Modulation of immune responses in stress by Yoga.
Arora S, Bhattacharjee J.
Int J Yoga. 2008 Jul;1(2):45-55.
[ full text ]

Cardiorespiratory and metabolic changes during yoga sessions: the effects of respiratory exercises and meditation practices.
Danucalov MA, Simões RS, Kozasa EH, Leite JR.
Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2008 Jun;33(2):77-81.
[ abstract ]

Long-term effect of yogic practices on diurnal metabolic rates of healthy subjects.
Chaya MS, Nagendra HR.
Int J Yoga. 2008 Jan;1(1):27-32.
[ full text ]

Does practicing hatha yoga satisfy recommendations for intensity of physical activity which improves and maintains health and cardiovascular fitness?
Hagins M, Moore W, Rundle A.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Nov 30;7:40.
[ full text ]

Notable Publications

Notable Publications (What's this?)

Greater Anteroposterior Default Mode Network Functional Connectivity in Long-Term Elderly Yoga Practitioners.
Santaella DF, Balardin JB, Afonso RF, Giorjiani GM, Sato JR, Lacerda SS, Amaro E Jr, Lazar S, Kozasa EH.
Front Aging Neurosci. 2019 Jul 2;11:158.
[ full text ]

Mind-Body Practices and the Self: Yoga and Meditation Do Not Quiet the Ego but Instead Boost Self-Enhancement.
Gebauer JE, Nehrlich AD, Stahlberg D, Sedikides C, Hackenschmidt A, Schick D, Stegmaier CA, Windfelder CC, Bruk A, Mander J.
Psychol Sci. 2018 Aug;29(8):1299-1308.
[ abstract ]

Differences in Brain Structure and Function Among Yoga Practitioners and Controls.
Gothe NP, Hayes JM, Temali C, Damoiseaux JS.
Front Integr Neurosci. 2018 Jun 22;12:26.
[ full text ]

Meditation and yoga practice are associated with smaller right amygdala volume: the Rotterdam study.
Gotink RA, Vernooij MW, Ikram MA, Niessen WJ, Krestin GP, Hofman A, Tiemeier H, Hunink MGM.
Brain Imaging Behav. 2018 Feb 7. doi: 10.1007/s11682-018-9826-z.
[ full text ]

Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression after a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat.
Cahn BR, Goodman MS, Peterson CT, Maturi R, Mills PJ.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Jun 26;11:315.
[ full text ]

Preliminary indications of the effect of a brief yoga intervention on markers of inflammation and DNA methylation in chronically stressed women.
Harkess KN, Ryan J, Delfabbro PH, Cohen-Woods S.
Transl Psychiatry. 2016 Nov 29;6(11):e965.
[ full text ]

Increased Grey Matter Associated with Long-Term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study.
Hernández SE, Suero J, Barros A, González-Mora JL, Rubia K.
PLoS One. 2016 Mar 3;11(3):e0150757.
[ full text ]

Neuroprotective effects of yoga practice: age-, experience-, and frequency-dependent plasticity.
Villemure C, Čeko M, Cotton VA, Bushnell MC.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 May 12;9:281.
[ full text ]

Slow breathing and hypoxic challenge: cardiorespiratory consequences and their central neural substrates.
Critchley HD, Nicotra A, Chiesa PA, Nagai Y, Gray MA, Minati L, Bernardi L.
PLoS One. 2015 May 14;10(5):e0127082.
[ full text ]

Association of leukocyte telomere length with oxidative stress in yoga practitioners.
Krishna BH, Keerthi GS, Kumar CK, Reddy NM. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Mar;9(3):CC01-3.
[ full text ]

Relaxation response induces temporal transcriptome changes in energy metabolism, insulin secretion and inflammatory pathways.
Bhasin MK, Dusek JA, Chang BH, Joseph MG, Denninger JW, Fricchione GL, Benson H, Libermann TA.
PLoS One. 2013 May 1;8(5):e62817.
[ full text ]

Regular Yoga Practice Improves Antioxidant Status, Immune Function, and Stress Hormone Releases in Young Healthy People: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Pilot Study.
Bhasin MK, Dusek JA, Chang BH, Joseph MG, Denninger JW, Fricchione GL, Benson H, Libermann TA.
J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Sep;21(9):530-8.
[ abstract ]

Greater widespread functional connectivity of the caudate in older adults who practice kripalu yoga and vipassana meditation than in controls.
Gard T, Taquet M, Dixit R, Hölzel BK, Dickerson BC, Lazar SW.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Mar 16;9:137.
[ full text ]

Rapid gene expression changes in peripheral blood lymphocytes upon practice of a comprehensive yoga program.
Qu S, Olafsrud SM, Meza-Zepeda LA, Saatcioglu F.
PLoS One. 2013 Apr 17;8(4):e61910.
[ full text ]

Yogic meditation reverses NF-κB and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial.
Black DS, Cole SW, Irwin MR, Breen E, St Cyr NM, Nazarian N, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H.
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Mar;38(3):348-55.
[ full text ]

Adiponectin, leptin, and yoga practice.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Christian LM, Andridge R, Hwang BS, Malarkey WB, Belury MA, Emery CF, Glaser R.
Physiol Behav. 2012 Dec 5;107(5):809-13.
[ full text ]

Effects of yoga versus walking on mood, anxiety, and brain GABA levels: a randomized controlled MRS study.
Streeter CC, Whitfield TH, Owen L, Rein T, Karri SK, Yakhkind A, Perlmutter R, Prescot A, Renshaw PF, Ciraulo DA, Jensen JE.
J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov;16(11):1145-52.
[ full text ]

Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Christian L, Preston H, Houts CR, Malarkey WB, Emery CF, Glaser R.
Psychosom Med. 2010 Feb;72(2):113-21.
[ full text ]

Longevity: potential life span and health span enhancement through practice of the basic yoga meditation regimen.
Bushell WC.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1172:20-7.
[ abstract ]

Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness.
Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, Brooks D, Alving J, Lou HC.
Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Apr;13(2):255-9.
[ abstract ]

Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit 501(c)(6). Yoga Alliance Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). This website refers to the two organizations as "Yoga Alliance." Copyright 2024 Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance, the Yoga Alliance logo, RYS, RYT, and YACEP are registered marks with the USPTO and other jurisdictions.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Copyright 2024 by Yoga Alliance