Perceptions of Yoga among older adults: A qualitative approach

Divya Sivaramakrishnan, Claire Fitzsimons, Nanette Mutrie, Graham Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A very low percentage of older adults in Scotland meet the muscle
strengthening, balance and co-ordination guidelines. Practicing yoga has
benefits for older adults including improved strength, flexibility, mobility and
balance. To develop an appropriate yoga programme for older adults, it is
important to get an in-depth understanding of their perceptions of yoga. We
conducted focus group discussions and interviews with a total of 19 male and
female older adult participants, both with and without prior yoga experience.
Thematic and framework analysis were used to analyze the transcripts, and
explore the differences in perceptions between the yoga and non-yoga
participants. The study offers insights into how older adults perceive yoga
including knowledge of yoga, thoughts on the features and perceived intensity of yoga practice, the gendered nature of participation, benefits, and apprehensions.
Guidelines for instructors while working with older adults include being audible,
giving clear instructions and demonstrating in class. Creating a non-threatening
environment, being aware of the level of the class, and offering alternative postures are other suggestions to aid the effective delivery of a yoga class.
Strategies such as providing more information on yoga and its benefits, and
organizing taster sessions or introductory classes were suggested to promote
yoga in this population. These findings would be useful to persons interested in
yoga for an older population, and should be considered while developing a yoga
Original languageEnglish
Article number1035
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Yoga and Physical Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • physical activity
  • focus groups
  • interviews
  • muscle strengthening
  • balance


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