Yoga as a complementary approach to healing for adult victims and survivors of interpersonal violence

Andrea Kappas Mazzio, Natasha Mendoza, Megan Lindsay Brown, Drishti Sinha, Jill Messing, Seth Wilson, Laura Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Yoga is increasingly accepted to improve overall health and wellness and is considered a meaningful adjunct treatment for mental and physical health ailments associated with interpersonal violence (IV). This review provides background information about the use of yoga among individuals with IV histories and aims to inform researchers and practitioners about the available evidence on yoga's application and effectiveness. Methods: Using six databases, we systematically reviewed empirical literature examining yoga among IV survivors. Criteria for study inclusion: yoga included a physical component and was the primary intervention; participants had an IV history; peer-reviewed; and participants were 17 years and older. After review, 10 articles reporting findings from seven independent samples were included. Findings: Yoga demonstrated preliminary, positive implications as a complementary treatment for individuals with an IV history. Synthesizing across articles four themes emerged: (1) acceptability and feasibility, (2) enhancement of mental and physical health, (3) promotion of personal growth, and (4) facilitators and barriers to practice. Conclusions: The nascent literature indicates potential benefits of integrating yoga into interventions for IV survivors to enhance physical and psychological functioning. The primary barriers to intervention were resources (e.g., access) and incompatibility with spiritual beliefs for select clients. Despite consistent barriers, preliminary findings indicate yoga has many positive implications for individuals with an IV history. Given the small evidence base and insufficient methodology, additional empirical research with diverse samples and sites, and robust designs, could improve the state of knowledge and strengthen the efficacy of this promising practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101427
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Complementary interventions
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Trauma
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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