Title. Development and evaluation of a yoga exercise programme for older adults
Aim. This study reports the development and evaluation of a new yoga exercise programme for older adults, called the Silver Yoga Programme.
Background. Yoga practice is associated with numerous health improvements, including reduced cardiovascular risk, body mass index and blood pressure. Yoga is also associated with improved respiration, psychological health and pain management. Studies have suggested the beneficial effects of yoga in the older population.
Method. The study was conducted in 2005 and it had two phases. Phase I consisted of sending a survey to 10 experts to help develop the Silver Yoga Programme. A hard copy and a video containing detailed descriptions and demonstrations of the programme were then sent to the experts for review and critique regarding the clarity and feasibility of the yoga postures. Phase II was an enquiry into older adults’ views on the programme using a quantitative evaluation and semi-structured qualitative inquiry. Fourteen women participants from a senior activity centre were interviewed individually after 1 month of Silver Yoga group practice, three times per week, 70 minutes per session. They were asked to evaluate the appropriateness of postures based on the criteria of difficulty, acceptability, feasibility and helpfulness. Five open-ended questions asked participants to reflect on their yoga experiences.
Results. Participants’ mean ratings of the acceptability, feasibility and helpfulness of the four aspects of the programme (warm-up, Hatha yoga, relaxation and guided-imagery meditation) ranged from 8·8 ± 1·9 to 9·3 ± 1·5; mean ratings of the difficulty of the programme revealed that relaxation and guided-imagery meditation were fairly easy to follow (0·1 ± 0·3 and 0·1 ± 0·3 respectively), but the postures in the Hatha yoga were relatively challenging (2·1 ± 2·6).
Conclusion. The Silver Yoga Programme should undergo further pilot-testing with larger samples of older adults before it is taken up internationally as a health-promotion activity for older adults.