Current Rheumatology Reports

, 15:387 | Cite as

Yoga in Rheumatic Diseases

  • Susan J. BartlettEmail author
  • Steffany H. Moonaz
  • Christopher Mill
  • Sasha Bernatsky
  • Clifton O. BinghamIII
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Yoga is a popular activity which may be well suited to some individuals with specific rheumatic disorders. Regular yoga practice can increase muscle strength and endurance, proprioception, and balance, with emphasis on movement through a full range of motion to increase flexibility and mobility. Additional beneficial elements of yoga include breathing, relaxation, body awareness, and meditation, which can reduce stress and anxiety and promote a sense of calmness, general well-being, and improved quality of life. Yoga also encourages a meditative focus, increased body awareness and mindfulness; some evidence suggests yoga may help reduce inflammatory mediators including C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. Yoga is best learned under the supervision of qualified teachers who are well informed about the potential musculoskeletal needs of each individual. Here, we briefly review the literature on yoga for healthy, musculoskeletal, and rheumatic disease populations and offer recommendations for discussing ways to begin yoga with patients.


Yoga Rheumatic diseases Arthritis Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Systemic lupus erythematosus Health benefits Immune function Musculoskeletal system 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Susan J. Bartlett has received grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Arthritis Foundation and has served as a consultant for the Arthritis Foundation. Steffany H. Moonaz has received support from predoctoral NIH and Arthritis Foundation awards and served as a consultant for the NIH and the Arthritis Foundation. Clifton O. Bingham III has received grant support from the NIH and the Arthritis Foundation. Christopher Mill and Sasha Bernatsky declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with animal subjects performed by any of the authors. With regard to the authors’ research cited in this paper, all procedures were approved by the respective institutions’ review and/or ethics boards of the lead investigators and all procedures were followed in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 and 2008.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan J. Bartlett
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
    Email author
  • Steffany H. Moonaz
    • 3
  • Christopher Mill
    • 4
  • Sasha Bernatsky
    • 5
  • Clifton O. BinghamIII
    • 6
  1. 1.Divisions of Rheumatology and Clinical EpidemiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Division of RheumatologyJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Maryland University of Integrative HealthLaurelUSA
  4. 4.Division of Clinical EpidemiologyMcGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Division of Rheumatology and Division of Clinical EpidemiologyMcGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada
  6. 6.Division of RheumatologyJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  7. 7.Division of Clinical EpidemiologyRoyal Victoria HospitalMontrealCanada

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