Does yoga help quickly with stress?

72.8 % of respondents indicated moderate to severe psychological distress according to a fall 2021 survey from the American College Health Association, of a reference group of 33,204 college students across the country (1).

Previous posts discuss a variety of strategies to help with stress.

A recent study looked at the immediate and lasting benefit of yoga for stress (2).

What was the study (2)?

Tong and colleagues (2) studied healthy undergraduate students from four yoga and four fitness classes in Study 1 (n = 191) and Study 2 (n = 143), respectively.

How much yoga was done? (2)

Study 1 evaluated the immediate effect (a 60-minute practice) while Study 2 evaluated the durable effect (a 12-week intervention) (2).

What type of yoga was done in this study (2) ?

Both studies involved Hatha yoga which comprised of meditation (5 min), breathing (5 min), posture-holding exercise  (including 12 postures after warm-up such as waist rotating, downward facing dog, cat stretch, warrior, 40 min), and 10 minutes of relaxation practice (2).

What were the results (2)?

Study 1 Showed that immediate stress reduction and mindfulness was greater in the yoga group than in the fitness group (2).

Study 2 showed that effect of yoga on stress reduction through mindfulness was a lasting one (2).

Both yoga and exercise showed benefits in reducing stress (2).

What are some caveats?

  • Further study is needed.
  • There are many forms of yoga. Students may find some forms of yoga more helpful than others.
  • Check with your healthcare provider to make sure that doing yoga is safe and appropriate for you.
  • Additional resources:
  • Yoga classes through OSU Wellness
  • Group fitness classes through OSU RPAC
  • Online resources for yoga
  • Yoga classes in the community


By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

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 Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.  Permission to use/cite this article: contact


  1. American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment III: Reference Group Executive Summary Fall 2021. Silver Spring, MD: American College Health Association; 2022.
  2. Jiajin Tong, Xin Qi, Zhonghui He, Senlin Chen, Scott J. Pedersen, P. Dean Cooley, Julie Spencer-Rodgers, Shuchang He & Xiangyi Zhu (2021) The immediate and durable effects of yoga and physical fitness exercises on stress, Journal of American College Health, 69:6, 675-683, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2019.1705840