Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-5-2016


Objectives: The objectives of this paper are to (1) give a brief overview of stroke pathophysiology (2) outline yoga as a therapeutic strategy (3) present the current research on yoga rehabilitation for stroke (4) discuss the efficacy of yoga for chronic stroke.

Methods: Relevant terms were searched in PubMed, Web of Science, Academic OneFile, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar electronic databases. Studies were excluded if they contained pediatric stroke, non-stroke neurological diseases, or subjects with comorbidities. Statistically significant data was extracted for the primary measures of nine trials.

Results: Four studies measured statistically significant outcomes (p<0.05). These included improvements in balance, independence, endurance, trait anxiety, fear of falling, self-efficacy, pain, strength, range of motion (ROM), activity, participation, and quality of life (QoL). Discussion: Lack of statistical significance in post-stroke depression (PSD) measures may be due to inadequate intervention length or a psychosocial cause of depression. Improvements in balance, flexibility, and strength from yoga participation permitted progress in disability and functionality. Finally, overall health-related quality of life (HRQL) is affected by the severity of mental disorders and physical disability. Yoga can have a positive effect in both domains and therefore, may improve HRQL.

Conclusion: Preliminary evidence suggests the benefits of yoga on depression, disability, and HRQL. Further research needs to be conducted to determine the efficacy of these findings in treating chronic stroke.


Baylor Hogan won First Place in the 2015-2016 Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize for her essay about the effects of yoga therapy on the physical and mental wellbeing of stroke patients. This essay is the original scholarship that emerged from that research.