Yoga, a form of physical activity, is rapidly gaining in popularity and has many health benefits. Yet healthcare providers have been slow to recognize yoga for its ability to improve health conditions, and few interventions have been developed that take full advantage of its benefits. The purpose of this article is to review published studies using yoga programs and to determine the effect of yoga interventions on common risk factors of chronic diseases (overweight, hypertension, high glucose level and high cholesterol). A systematic search yielded 32 articles published between 1980 and April 2007. The studies found that yoga interventions are generally effective in reducing body weight, blood pressure, glucose level and high cholesterol, but only a few studies examined long-term adherence. Additionally, not enough studies included diverse populations at high risk for diabetes and its related common health problems.