Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions worldwide. Despite continual advances in the fields of psychiatry and psychology, hundreds of millions of individuals continue to suffer due to ineffective treatment, adverse effects, lack of access to care, and the relapsing nature of the disease. Depression extends beyond the affected individual and burdens families, healthcare systems, and societies. Yoga is a mind-body modality, growing in popularity, that has been cited in the literature as a promising treatment for depression. The purpose of this paper is to systematically review recent literature on the impact of yoga on depression management in adults. Five databases were searched, yielding 56 research studies published between 2014 and 2019, which were subsequently narrowed to 13 final studies per strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. The 13 studies included four systematic reviews, three randomized controlled trials, two randomized controlled dose finding trials, three prospective cohort randomized controlled trials, and one qualitative descriptive study. The majority of studies report that yoga is as effective as current standard treatments for the short-term symptom management of depression. Research highlights yoga’s safety profile and tolerability. More research is needed regarding the longterm impact of yoga, especially in populations such as the elderly, pregnant women, and cancer patients who would benefit from non-pharmacological treatment options. Current and future healthcare providers must be informed on current research in order to provide high quality patient care to adult patients with depression. Healthcare policy and educational systems (including workplaces) should support the dissemination and integration of evidenced based research into practice.


Rhonda Cornell

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing


Allied Health and Nursing



Rights Statement

In Copyright