Designing, validation and feasibility of a yoga-based intervention for elderly

Research By Taiyab


Context: Ageing is an unavoidable facet of life. Yogic practices have been reported to promote healthy aging. Previous studies have used either yoga therapy interventions derived from a particular school of yoga or have tested specific yogic practices like meditation.

Aims: This study reports the development, validation and feasibility of a yoga-based intervention for elderly with or without mild cognitive impairment.

Settings and design: The study was conducted at the Advanced Centre for Yoga, National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore. The module was developed, validated, and then pilot-tested on volunteers.

Materials and methods: The first part of the study consisted of designing of a yoga module based on traditional and contemporary yogic literature. This yoga module along with the three case vignettes of elderly with cognitive impairment were sent to 10 yoga experts to help develop the intended yoga-based intervention. In the second part, the feasibility of the developed yoga-based intervention was tested.

Results: Experts (n=10) opined the yoga-based intervention will be useful in improving cognition in elderly, but with some modifications. Frequent supervised yoga sessions, regular follow-ups, addition/deletion/modifications of yoga postures were some of the suggestions. Ten elderly consented and eight completed the pilot testing of the intervention. All of them were able to perform most of the Sukṣmavyayāma, Prāṇāyāma and Nādānusaṇdhāna (meditation) technique without difficulty. Some of the participants (n=3) experienced difficulty in performing postures seated on the ground. Most of the older adults experienced difficulty in remembering and completing entire sequence of yoga-based intervention independently.

Conclusions: The yoga based intervention is feasible in the elderly with cognitive impairment. Testing with a larger sample of older adults is warranted.

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