Adapted Yoga for Inactive Older Adults

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Northumbria University




The Study Will Recruit Adults Aged 60 Years or Older


Other: Yoga
Behavioral: Written advice

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


There is evidence that yoga has beneficial effects on several aspects of physical and mental health. However, few studies have explored the acceptability and health effects of yoga in older adults. This preliminary study will explore the effects of a 10-week yoga intervention on physical function and quality of life in older adults. Data collected in this study will be used to inform the design of a subsequent adequately-powered randomised controlled trial.

Full description

Older adults (i.e. aged ≥60 years) who are physically inactive are at increased risk of falls, functional limitations, disability, and mental health problems. Encouragingly, there is evidence that various physical activity interventions can elicit meaningful improvements in physical function and health-related quality of life in older people. Effective programmes have included aerobic exercise, progressive resistance training and Tai Chi. Yoga is an alternative approach to improving fitness and health outcomes in older adults. The benefits of yoga may be greater than those of exercise alone because yoga offers a combination of physical exercise with mental focus, and participants are taught good posture, self-awareness, and self-care along with relaxation. Indeed, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis that included 16 studies (n=649) concluded that yoga may provide greater improvements in physical functioning and self-reported health status than conventional physical activity interventions in elderly people. However, the previous studies had limitations, including small sample sizes, a single yoga teacher delivering the programme, and short-term follow-up. Furthermore, none of the included studies had been conducted in the United Kingdom. Many different schools of hatha yoga exist in the West, such as Iyengar, Sivananda, Viniyoga, Bikram (Hot Yoga), and it is likely that some of these forms are more acceptable and effective than others in elderly people, many of whom present with multiple morbidities. Gentle Years Yoga© is a yoga programme which was developed in North Yorkshire, England by the British Wheel of Yoga 'Approved Centre' Yorkshire Yoga in 2009 to cater specifically for the needs of older people with age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, arthroplasty, dementia, sensory impairment. To date, only anecdotal evidence exists regarding the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of this programme; therefore, further research is warranted. Here, we are proposing to conduct a two-arm, parallel-group, pilot randomised controlled trial in physically inactive adults aged ≥60 years, the aims of which are to: (i) inform the design of, and assess the feasibility of conducting, a definitive randomised controlled trial, and; (ii) explore the acceptability, safety and potential benefits of the Gentle Years Yoga© programme in this specific population.


52 patients




60+ years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

Age ≥60 years Able to provide written informed consent and complete the study questionnaires Able to travel to a study centre for assessment visits and yoga sessions

Exclusion criteria

Absolute contraindications to exercise testing and training as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine Planned major surgery within 3 months of the proposed baseline assessment date Current participation in >90 min/week of purposeful exercise, such as jogging or swimming Participation in another clinical trial for with concurrent participation is deemed inappropriate

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

52 participants in 2 patient groups

Yoga intervention group
Experimental group
10 weekly 75-min sessions of specialised yoga plus written advice about physical activity for older adults
Behavioral: Written advice
Other: Yoga
Waiting list control group
Active Comparator group
Usual care plus written advice about physical activity for older adults
Behavioral: Written advice

Trial contacts and locations



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