Research suggesting beneficial effects of yoga on myriad aspects of psychological health has proliferated in recent years, yet there is currently no overarching framework by which to understand yoga’s beneficial effects. In this session, we provide a theoretical framework and systems-based conceptual model of yoga that focuses on self-regulation. We begin by contextualizing yoga in historical and contemporary settings, and then detail how specific components of yoga practice may affect cognitive, emotional, and behavioral systems under stress and result in physical and psychological health. The model describes yoga as a comprehensive skillset of behaviors that facilitate bidirectional feedback between, and integration of, top-down executive control processes and bottom-up viscerosomatic processes in the context of autonomic and emotional reactivity. We will present the clinical relevance and available evidence for yoga affecting self-regulatory pathways integrating data from the extant psychological, physiological, and cognitive neurosciences in support of this model.

Jessica Noggle-Taylor, PhD

Harvard Medical School


Crystal Park

University of Connecticut


David Vago, PhD

Vanderbilt University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, Planning Committee Member, Reviewer

Dr. David Vago is Research Associate Professor and Director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Mind-Body (CNMB) Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. He is core training … MORE

Angela Wilson

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health