Yoga for Women's Health

We're always looking for more data to add to our index, so if you know of a yoga research study that you don't see here, pass it along to us. Send relevant scholarly articles to Yoga Alliance® supports the continued research on yoga’s benefits, and we will continue to update the page with more research on more health topics. 

Last updated: July 19, 2017

Yoga Alliance recommends that any individuals with health concerns consult with a qualified health care practitioner to discuss whether yoga is right for them, but we are aware that yoga can be used in the medical treatment context by appropriately qualified and licensed healthcare practitioners. Yoga Alliance credentials do not serve as qualifications for the diagnosis or treatment of health conditions.

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“Yoga during pregnancy may contribute to a reduction pain of labor and improved adequacy of childbirth.”
–Jahdi et al (2017), Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice


“The results demonstrated that ACTH [Adrenocorticotropic hormone] increased and cortisol decreased compared to the control group (P < 0.05); In conclusion, it seems that yoga training modulates ACTH level in concomitant with reduction in cortisol level in female patients with MS [multiple sclerosis].”
–Najafi et al (2017), Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice



“These results suggest that yoga promotes positive psychophysiological changes in post-menopausal women and may be applied as a complementary therapy towards this population.”
–Jorge et al (2016), Complimentary Therapies in Medicine



“This preliminary study suggests that women with PMS could benefit from yoga in the luteal phase to quickly reduce water retention.”
–Tsai et al (2016), European Journal of Integrative Medicine



“Women's self-efficacy for labor is complex and multi-factorial. This study offers insights into the factors which may be involved in increasing it. These include not only traditional elements of yoga such as postures, breathing and meditation, but also the creation of safe, women-only groups where anxieties, experiences and stories can be shared, and pain-coping techniques for labor learned and practiced.”
–Campbell et al (2016), Women and Birth



“This study indicated the immediate stress reduction effects of yoga during pregnancy.”
–Kusaka et al (2016), Women and Birth



“The results of this study suggest that women with PMS could attend short-term yoga exercise in the luteal phase to make themselves feel better and maintain a better attention level.”
–Cramer et al (2016), Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur



"Hatha yoga practice in healthy Chinese female subjects could improve hallmarks related to MetS [metabolic syndrome]; thus it can be considered as an ancillary intervention in the primary MetS prevention for the healthy population.”
–Chen et al (2016), BioMed Research International



“Findings from this study suggest that pregnant, urban, adolescents are highly stressed; they interpret depression-like symptoms to be signs of stress; they desire group-based, interactive activities; and they are interested in yoga classes for stress/depression management and relationship building.”
– Kinser et al (2015), Women's Health Issues



“The current study suggests that prenatal yoga may be a viable approach to addressing antenatal depression, one that may have advantages in terms of greater acceptability than standard depression treatments.”
– Battle et al (2015), Women's Health Issues



“Women who took part in the prenatal yoga program reported significantly fewer pregnancy discomforts than the control group at 38–40 weeks of gestation. The subjects who participated in the yoga program exhibited higher outcome and self-efficacy expectancies during the active stage of labor and the second stage of labor compared with the control group.”
– Sun et al (2010), Midwifery



“Effects of yoga and exercise on menopause-related quality of life were modest, although women using the yoga treatment did experience improvement in vasomotor symptoms and sexual domain scores on the MENQL [Menopausal Quality of Life Questionnaire] and on the Hot Flash Daily Interference Scale.”
– Woods et al (2014), Evidence Based Medicine



“The findings suggest that the location in which a woman practices yoga is associated with attitudinal, health-related and birth environmental factors.”
– Cramer et al (2015), BMJ Open



“The integrated yoga is an efficacious means of improving the quality of life of pregnant women and enhancing certain aspects of their interpersonal relationships.”
– Rakhshani et al (2010), Quality of Life Research



“Yoga reduces perceived stress and improves adaptive autonomic response to stress in healthy pregnant women.”
– Satyapriya et al (2009), International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics



“Our data suggest that women who are more distressed are more likely to accept psychological support before starting an IVF cycle and that in these women HY [Hatha Yoga] practice is associated with distress reduction.”
– Valoriani et al (2014), European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology



“Anxiety, depression and fertility-specific quality of life showed improvement over time in association with participation in a 6-week Yoga programme in women awaiting their treatment with IVF.”
– Oron et al (2015), Reproductive Biomedicine Online



“Yoga is effective in reducing menopausal symptoms and should be considered as alternative therapy for the management of menopausal symptoms.”
– Joshi et al (2011), Post Reproductive Health



“Mindful yoga shows promise for women in their second trimester of pregnancy to diminish total number of awakenings at night and improve sleep efficiency and merits further exploration.”
– Beddo et al (2010), Biological Research for Nursing



“A pilot study of the effects of 10 weeks of yoga practice on 11 midlife women's menopausal symptoms was conducted. . . The women reported feeling relaxed and physically better after yoga class. Many viewed yoga as a skill they could incorporate into daily life to reduce stress and manage their menopausal symptoms.”
– Taylor et al (2008), Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine



“Mean number of hot flushes per week decreased by 30.8% (95% CI 15.6-45.9%) and mean hot flush score decreased 34.2% (95% CI 16.0-52.5%) from baseline to week 8. No adverse events were observed. . . This pilot trial demonstrates that it is feasible to teach restorative yoga to middle-aged women without prior yoga experience.”
– Cohen et al (2007), Maturitas



“Significant pre- to post-[yoga] treatment improvements were found for severity of questionnaire-rated total menopausal symptoms, hot-flash daily interference; and sleep efficiency, disturbances, and quality.”
– Booth La-Force et al (2007), Maturitas



“[61-points relaxation exercise, a relatively less known hatha yoga technique] is effective in providing relief from PMS and may be a useful adjuvant to medical therapy of PMS and other stress disorders.”
– Dvivedi et al (2008), Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology



“Raja yoga meditation lowered serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol in post-menopausal women thus reducing the risk of coronary artery disease in them.”
– Vyas et al (2008), Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology



“In the present study, the relaxation response in the females suffering from PMS showed a reduction in an abnormally high basal sympathetic activity and a heightened relaxation response in both the study groups (group B [Anuloma-viloma] and Group C [yogic asanas]) in comparison with group A [no intervention].”
– Sharma et al (2013), Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology



“The current study suggests that prenatal yoga may be a viable approach to addressing antenatal depression, one that may have advantages in terms of greater acceptability than standard depression treatments. On average, participants’ depression severity decreased significantly by the end of the intervention.“
;– Battle et al (2015), Women’s Health Issues



“Teachers see yoga for pregnancy as a multi-faceted, non-prescriptive intervention that enhances women's physical, emotional and social readiness for labour and birth, and supports women to make their own decisions across the transition to parenthood.”
– Campbell et al (2015), Women and Birth: Journal of the Australian College of Midwives



“Yoga combined with meditation can be considered a safe and effective complementary intervention for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors. The effects seem to persist for at least 3 months.”
Cramer et al (2015), Cancer



“Findings from this study suggest that pregnant, urban, adolescents are highly stressed; they interpret depression-like symptoms to be signs of stress; they desire group-based, interactive activities; and they are interested in yoga classes for stress/depression management and relationship building.“
– Kinser et al (2015), Women’s Health Issues



“…yoga practice could be effective in enhancing health and managing some treatment-related side effects for patients recovering from breast cancer.”
Pan et al (2015), Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology



“This randomized control study on yoga-based visualization and relaxation in high-risk pregnancy has shown significantly better uteroplacental and fetoplacental blood flow velocity in the yoga group compared to the control group.”
– Rakhshani et al (2015), Advances in Preventive Medicine



“The women's perceptions of the programme, [a 10-week course of Hatha yoga for gynaecological cancer patients,] were generally positive; many found benefits. [Patients] noted the breadth and applicability of the techniques in their day-to-day lives.”
– Archer et al (2014), Complementary Therapies in Medicine



“The primary finding of the present study was yoga intervention decreased back page, accompanied by increasing serum [brain-derived neurotrophic factor] level in premenopausal women with chronic low back pain. Subjects in the yoga group demonstrated a significant decrease in back pain intensity…and a significant increase in flexibility after 12-week yoga intervention whereas back pain increased…in the control group. ”
– Lee et al (2014), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



“Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that affects approximately 10% of women in the United States. . . Although more research is needed, yoga may be an effective adjunctive treatment for PTSD.”
Mitchell et al (2014), Journal of Traumatic Stress



“Antenatal yoga seems to be useful for reducing women's anxieties toward childbirth and preventing increases in depressive symptomatology. A single session of yoga reduced both subjective and physiological measures of state anxiety.”
Newham et al (2014), Depression and Anxiety, the official journal of the ADAA



“We found that, among healthy sedentary menopausal women, yoga appears to improve menopausal quality of life.“
– Reed et al (2014), American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology



"Mindfulness eating and yoga exercise had health benefits on glycemic control in pregnant women with [gestational diabetes mellitus]. The intervention group showed significantly reduced [glucose levels] and glycosylated hemoglobin."
– Youngwanichsetha (2014), Applied Nursing Research



"This [study] provides evidence that a cost-effective module of integrated yoga is safe and useful in promoting normal physiological adaptation in women with high-risk pregnancy, as indicated by the healthy progression of platelet and uric acid levels that has reflected as lesser incidence of [pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia]."
– Jayashree et al (2013), International Journal of Medicine



“Premenstrual stress affects 75% of women of childbearing age and yoga has been found to be beneficial in many psycho-somatic disorders. Also, regular practice of yoga has beneficial effects on [the premenstrual and postmensrual] phases of the menstrual cycle.”
– Kanojia et al (2013), Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research



“Participants agreed yoga improved: energy…happiness…social relationships…sleep…and weight. Yoga might be beneficial for a number of populations including elderly women and those with chronic health conditions.”
– Ross et al (2013), Complementary Therapies in Medicine



“Yoga reduces anxiety, depression and pregnancy related uncomfortable experiences.”
– Satyapriya et al (2013)Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice



“These data suggest that yoga may be an effective intervention for prenatally depressed women. When pregnant women were randomly assigned to yoga, deep relaxation or standard prenatal exercise groups, stress decreased by 32% in the yoga group and increased by 7% in the control group.“
– Field et al (2012), Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy



“In conclusion, this study suggests that Iyengar yoga is an effective treatment for women in reducing mental distress and concomitant psychological and physical symptoms.”
– Michalsen et al (2012), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



“The patients with [menstrual disorders experiencing] mild to moderate anxiety and depressive symptoms improve significantly with 'Yoga Nidra' intervention.“
– Rani et al (2012), International Journal of Yoga



“[These results] support the feasibility and acceptability of a tailored Iyengar Yoga intervention for breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue. There was a significant improvement in fatigue scores from pre- to post-intervention that was maintained at the 3-month post-intervention followup.”
– Bower et al (2011), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



“A large percentage of the female population are using yoga or meditation. …Women who regularly use yoga or meditation positively associated with measures of mental and physical health.”
– Sibbritt et al (2011), Complementary Therapies in Medicine



“Women practicing mindful yoga in their second trimester reported significant reductions in physical pain from baseline to postintervention compared with women in the third trimester whose pain increased. Women in their third trimester showed greater reductions in perceived stress and trait anxiety. Preliminary evidence supports yoga’s potential efficacy in these areas, particularly if started early in the pregnancy.”
–Beddoe et al (2009), Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing



“…these pilot data suggest potential benefit of [restorative yoga] on emotional outcomes and fatigue in [female breast] cancer patients. This study demonstrates that a RY intervention is feasible for women with breast cancer.”
Danhauer et al (2009), Psycho-Oncology



“An integrated approach to yoga during pregnancy is safe. It improves birth weight, decreases preterm labor, and decreases [intrauterine growth retardation]  either in isolation or associated with [pregnancy-induced hypertension], with no increased complications.”
– Narendran et al (2005), The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine



“[The study] tested whether yoga practice is associated with greater awareness of and responsiveness to bodily sensations, lower self-objectification, greater body satisfaction, and fewer disordered eating attitudes. Three samples of women (43 yoga, 45 aerobic, and 51 nonyoga/nonaerobic practitioners) completed questionnaire measures. As predicted, yoga practitioners reported more favorably on all measures.”
–Daubenmier (2005), Psychology of Women Quarterly



“. . .this pilot study suggests that the use of yoga among women with hyperkyphosis is safe and acceptable and may produce better posture.”
Greendale et al (2002), American Journal of Public Health






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