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Feasibility, acceptability and evaluation of meditation to augment yoga practice among persons diagnosed with schizophrenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2022

Triptish Bhatia
Indo-US Projects, Department of Psychiatry and De-addiction, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, ABVIMS, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
Nupur Kumari
A multi-centric randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of telephone based psychological interventions on future suicide risk in suicide attempters, ICMR Project, Department of Psychiatry, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, ABVIMS, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
Ashok Yadav
A pilot project to evaluate efficacy of yoga intervention for stress, anxiety and depression among healthcare professionals working in a frontline COVID-19 tertiary care hospital of New Delhi, Department of Psychiatry and De-addiction, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, ABVIMS, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
Ram Pratap Beniwal
Department of Psychiatry and De-addiction, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, ABVIMS, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
Gyandeepak Shah
National Coordination Unit-Indian Council of Medical Research, Dept. of Psychiatry and De-addiction, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, ABVIMS, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
Wood Joel
Department of Psychiatry, WPIC, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA
Jacquelynn R. Jones
Department of Psychiatry, WPIC, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA
Satish Iyenger
Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar
Department of Psychiatry and Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Behavioral Health Service line, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Smita N Deshpande*
Department of Psychiatry, Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Medical Sciences-Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
Author for correspondence: Smita N Deshpande, Email:



To design a meditation protocol and test its feasibility, acceptability and efficacy in conjunction with yoga training (YT) for persons with schizophrenia (SZ).


The meditation protocol consisted of Anapana (observing normal respiration) and Yoga Nidra (supine, restful awareness). In a single-blind randomised controlled trial, medicated and clinically stable outpatients diagnosed with SZ were randomised to receive treatment as usual (TAU), TAU augmented with YT or TAU augmented with meditation and yoga training (MYT) for 3 weeks (N = 145). Acceptability, clinical, social and cognitive functions were assessed after 3-week and 3-month post-randomisation using within-group and between-group analyses with repeated measures multivariate tests.


No group-wise differences in compliance, study discontinuation, major/serious side effects or adverse events were noted. For six assessed clinical variables, the direction of changes were in the desired direction and the effect sizes were greater in the MYT group compared with the TAU group at both time points. Changes in social function variables were greater at 3 months than at 3 weeks. Nominally significant improvement in individual cognitive domains were noted in all groups at both time points. All effect sizes were in the small to medium range.


MYT is feasible and acceptable and shows modest benefits for persons with SZ. MYT can also improve quality of life and clinical symptoms. Larger studies of longer duration are warranted.

Original Article
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Scandinavian College of Neuropsychopharmacology

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