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Int J Yoga. 2013 Jul-Dec; 6(2): 134.
PMCID: PMC3734641

Yoga therapy and schizophrenia


The report on yoga therapy and schizophrenia is very interesting.[1] Indeed, yoga is mentioned for its usefulness in management of several mental disorders including, schizophrenia. A previous report by Varambally et al. is a good scientific evidence to support the usefulness of yoga therapy for schizophrenia.[2] In that report, add-on yogasana intervention in stabilized out-patient schizophrenia is proved for effectiveness.[2] However, since the intervention is on the stable cases, the implication of add-on intervention is limited. Bangalore and Varambally mentioned for the possible roles of hormonal adjustment.[1] The increased oxytocin level is noted.[1] Indeed, the exact mechanism of yoga to manage schizophrenia is still unknown, however, it might not relate to the hormone system. Focusing on oxytocin, its receptor gene polymorphism, not itself, is reported for clinical correlation to schizophrenia.[3] In fact, there is a hypothesis on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis defect, however, there is no evidence on the exact structural disorder.[4] It is still not success, to map the specific brain area that is corresponding to pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Furthermore, the effectiveness of yoga on schizophrenia also depends on group of patients.[5] In the study by Bhatia et al., males get more usefulness of yoga than females.[5] Although, it is still controversial, the possible mechanism of yoga in management of schizophrenia should be physical rehabilitation of physical impairment of the patients.[6]


1. Bangalore NG, Varambally S. Yoga therapy for Schizophrenia. Int J Yoga. 2012;5:85–91. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Varambally S, Gangadhar BN, Thirthalli J, Jagannathan A, Kumar S, Venkatasubramanian G, et al. Therapeutic efficacy of add-on yogasana intervention in stabilized outpatient schizophrenia: Randomized controlled comparison with exercise and waitlist. Indian J Psychiatry. 2012;54:227–32. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
3. Montag C, Brockmann EM, Lehmann A, Müller DJ, Rujescu D, Gallinat J. Association between Oxytocin Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and Self-Rated ‘Empathic Concern’ in Schizophrenia. PLoS One. 2012;7:e51882. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
4. Tognin S, Rambaldelli G, Perlini C, Bellani M, Marinelli V, Zoccatelli G, et al. Enlarged hypothalamic volumes in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Res. 2012;204:75–81. [PubMed]
5. Bhatia T, Agarwal A, Shah G, Wood J, Richard J, Gur RE, et al. Adjunctive cognitive remediation for schizophrenia using yoga: An open, non-randomized trial. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2012;24:91–100. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
6. Vancampfort D, Probst M, Helvik Skjaerven L, Catalán-Matamoros D, Lundvik-Gyllensten A, Gómez-Conesa A, et al. Systematic review of the benefits of physical therapy within a multidisciplinary care approach for people with schizophrenia. Phys Ther. 2012;92:11–23. [PubMed]

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