Scientific Research on Yoga > Special Populations > The Elderly and Aging

The Elderly and Aging Balance, Falling, Mobility, Cognition, Memory, Sleep, Dementia

Video Spotlight: Aging

Watch this video to learn more about the research conducted on yoga and aging.

Our hope is for yoga schools and yoga teachers to utilize this impactful content in their teachings to promote and highlight yoga's evident multi-faceted ability to improve lives. Let us know how research on yoga is important or valuable to you on social media (@YogaAlliance) or by emailing us at We honor and value your personal experiences and look forward to featuring your stories.

These citations were curated by Yoga Alliance's Director of Yoga Research, Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa.

Review Papers

Review Papers (What's this?)

The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
Sivaramakrishnan D, Fitzsimons C, Kelly P, Ludwig K, Mutrie N, Saunders DH, Baker G.
Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2019 Apr 5;16(1):33.
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Yoga-based exercise improves health-related quality of life and mental well-being in older people: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.
Tulloch A, Bombell H, Dean C, Tiedemann A.
Age Ageing. 2018 Jul 1;47(4):537-544.
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Mind-Body Therapies for Late-Life Mental and Cognitive Health.
Laird KT, Paholpak P, Roman M, Rahi B, Lavretsky H.
Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2018 Jan 25;20(1):2.
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Evidence based effects of yoga practice on various health related problems of elderly people: A review.
Mooventhan A, Nivethitha L.
J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017 Oct;21(4):1028-1032.
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Mind-Body Therapies in Individuals With Dementia: An Integrative Review.
Anderson JG, Rogers CE, Bossen A, Testad I, Rose KM.
Res Gerontol Nurs. 2017 Nov 1;10(6):288-296.
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The therapeutic effects of yoga in people with dementia: a systematic review.
Du Q, Wei Z.
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Jan;32(1):118.
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The Neural Mechanisms of Meditative Practices: Novel Approaches for Healthy Aging.
Acevedo BP, Pospos S, Lavretsky H.
Curr Behav Neurosci Rep. 2016;3(4):328-339.
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Knee osteoarthritis pain in the elderly can be reduced by massage therapy, yoga and tai chi: A review.
Field T.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Feb;22:87-92.
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Yoga-based exercise improves balance and mobility in people aged 60 and over: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Youkhana S, Dean CM, Wolff M, Sherrington C, Tiedemann A.
Age Ageing. 2016 Jan;45(1):21-9.
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Yoga-based exercise improves balance and mobility in people aged 60 and over: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Youkhana S, Dean CM, Wolff M, Sherrington C, Tiedemann A.
Age Ageing. 2016 Jan;45(1):21-9.
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Systematic Review of Yoga Interventions to Promote Cardiovascular Health in Older Adults.
Barrows JL, Fleury J.
West J Nurs Res. 2016 Jun;38(6):753-81.
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The Effect of a Meditative Movement Intervention on Quality of Sleep in the Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Wu WW, Kwong E, Lan XY, Jiang XY.
J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Sep;21(9):509-19.
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Effects of relaxation interventions on depression and anxiety among older adults: a systematic review.
Klainin-Yobas P, Oo WN, Suzanne Yew PY, Lau Y.
Aging Ment Health. 2015;19(12):1043-55.
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Notable Publications

Notable Publications (What's this?)

Greater Anteroposterior Default Mode Network Functional Connectivity in Long-Term Elderly Yoga Practitioners.
Santaella DF, Balardin JB, Afonso RF, Giorjiani GM, Sato JR, Lacerda SS, Amaro E Jr, Lazar S, Kozasa EH.
Front Aging Neurosci. 2019 Jul 2;11:158.
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Effects of yoga on well-being and healthy ageing: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (FitForAge).
Östh J, Diwan V, Jirwe M, Diwan V, Choudhary A, Mahadik VK, Pascoe M, Hallgren M.
BMJ Open. 2019 May 29;9(5):e027386.
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Hatha Yoga Practice Improves Attention and Processing Speed in Older Adults: Results from an 8-Week Randomized Control Trial.
Gothe NP, Kramer AF, McAuley E.
J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Jan;23(1):35-40.
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Electromyographic Pattern during Gait Initiation Differentiates Yoga Practitioners among Physically Active Older Subjects.
Lelard T, Doutrellot PL, Temfemo A, Ahmaidi S.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Jun 14;11:300.
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Greater Cortical Thickness in Elderly Female Yoga Practitioners-A Cross-Sectional Study.
Afonso RF, Balardin JB, Lazar S, Sato JR, Igarashi N, Santaella DF, Lacerda SS, Amaro E Jr, Kozasa EH.
Front Aging Neurosci. 2017 Jun 20;9:201.
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A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis.
Park J, McCaffrey R, Newman D, Liehr P, Ouslander JG.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Mar;65(3):592-597.
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Neurochemical and Neuroanatomical Plasticity Following Memory Training and Yoga Interventions in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Yang H, Leaver AM, Siddarth P, Paholpak P, Ercoli L, St Cyr NM, Eyre HA, Narr KL, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H.
Front Aging Neurosci. 2016 Nov 21;8:277.
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Yoga practice improves executive function by attenuating stress levels.
Gothe NP, Keswani RK, McAuley E.
Biol Psychol. 2016 Dec;121(Pt A):109-116.
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Changes in Neural Connectivity and Memory Following a Yoga Intervention for Older Adults: A Pilot Study.
Eyre HA, Acevedo B, Yang H, Siddarth P, Van Dyk K, Ercoli L, Leaver AM, Cyr NS, Narr K, Baune BT, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;52(2):673-84.
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Yoga Is as Good as Stretching-Strengthening Exercises in Improving Functional Fitness Outcomes: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial.
Gothe NP, McAuley E.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Mar;71(3):406-11.
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Comparative impacts of Tai Chi, balance training, and a specially-designed yoga program on balance in older fallers.
Ni M, Mooney K, Richards L, Balachandran A, Sun M, Harriell K, Potiaumpai M, Signorile JF.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Sep;95(9):1620-1628.e30.
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The biomechanical demands of standing yoga poses in seniors: The Yoga empowers seniors study (YESS).
Wang MY, Yu SS, Hashish R, Samarawickrame SD, Kazadi L, Greendale GA, Salem G.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Jan 9;13:8.
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Does yoga engender fitness in older adults? A critical review.
Roland KP, Jakobi JM, Jones GR.
J Aging Phys Act. 2011 Jan;19(1):62-79.
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The psychological benefits of yoga practice for older adults: evidence and guidelines.
Bonura KB.
Int J Yoga Therap. 2011;(21):129-42.
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The effects of an 8-week Hatha yoga intervention on executive function in older adults.
Gothe NP, Kramer AF, McAuley E.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014 Sep;69(9):1109-16.
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Randomized, controlled, six-month trial of yoga in healthy seniors: effects on cognition and quality of life.
Oken BS, Zajdel D, Kishiyama S, Flegal K, Dehen C, Haas M, Kraemer DF, Lawrence J, Leyva J.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):40-7.
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Adherence to yoga and exercise interventions in a 6-month clinical trial.
Flegal KE, Kishiyama S, Zajdel D, Haas M, Oken BS.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Nov 9;7:37.
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