Yoga as part of a package of care versus non-standard care

Review question

Is yoga, delivered as part of a larger package of care, effective for people with schizophrenia compared with non-standard care?


Yoga involves physical postures and breathing exercises to promote balance between mind and body. Yoga has now been widely adopted as a method of relaxation and exercise for reduction of stress and promotion of health and feelings of well-being. Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness where people experience symptoms such as hearing voices that are not there, poor emotional response and social withdrawal. Schizophrenia often affects people for long periods of their life and is treated primarily by antipsychotic medications. However, these medications are not always fully effective and some research suggests that yoga as an add-on treatment could be beneficial and help improve the quality of life of people with schizophrenia. Yoga can be combined with other therapies such as counselling or other forms of exercise into a 'package of care'. Non-standard care can consist of talking therapies, expressive therapies (art, dance, drama, music and writing) and other forms of exercise.

Searching for evidence

In May 2018, the Information Specialist for Cochrane Schizophrenia searched Cochrane Schizophrenia's specialised register of randomised controlled trials for trials of people with schizophrenia. Thirty studies were found that could be relevant. The review authors carefully inspected full-text versions of these studies, checking that they were randomised controlled trials that randomised people with schizophrenia to receive, in addition to their ongoing care, either yoga as part of a package of care or another type of non-standard care intervention. Twenty-nine of these studies did not meet the above inclusion criteria and are excluded from the review. One study is 'ongoing' as data are not available at the moment.

Key results

Currently, there are no data available from randomised controlled trials regarding the effects of yoga as part of a package of care compared with non-standard care for people with schizophrenia.

Quality of the evidence

Currenlty, there is no high-quality evidence to support or discourage the use of yoga as part of a package of care versus non-standard care. Schizophrenia is often a long-term illness and studies which compare yoga packages to other types of therapies are necessary.

Authors' conclusions: 

In view of the lack of evidence from RCTs, it is currently not possible for us to comment on the use of yoga as part of a package of care versus non-standard care.

Read the full abstract...

Yoga is an ancient body-mind practice which originated in India and is popular in the Western world as a form of relaxation and exercise. It has been of interest for people with schizophrenia to determine the efficacy of yoga delivered as a package of care versus non-standard care.


To examine the effects of yoga as part of a package of care versus non-standard care for schizophrenia.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Trials Register (latest 15 May 2018) which is based on regular searches of MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, BIOSS, AMED, PsychINFO, and registries of clinical trials. We searched the references of all included studies. There are no language, date, document type, or publication status limitations for inclusion of records in the register.

Selection criteria: 

All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) including people with schizophrenia comparing yoga as part of a package of care with non-standard care.

Data collection and analysis: 

There were no data to analyse as no studies met the inclusion criteria.

Main results: 

The searches identified 30 studies that could be relevant to this review. After careful inspection, 29 were excluded and one is ongoing. No data were available for analyses.