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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 research@yogaalliance.org. 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?)

Effects of Exercise Training Interventions on Executive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Chen FT, Etnier JL, Chan KH, Chiu PK, Hung TM, Chang YK.
Sports Med. 2020 Aug;50(8):1451-1467.
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Yoga for infirmity in geriatric population amidst COVID-19 pandemic: Comment on "Age and Ageism in COVID-19: Elderly mental health-care vulnerabilities and needs".
Mohanty S, Sharma P, Sharma G.
Asian J Psychiatr. 2020 Jun 13;53:102199. (preprint)
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Physical Activity for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain in Elderly Patients: A Systematic Review.
Vadalà G, Russo F, De Salvatore S, Cortina G, Albo E, Papalia R, Denaro V.
J Clin Med. 2020 Apr 5;9(4):1023.
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Yoga, Health-Related Quality of Life and Mental Well-Being: A Re-analysis of a Meta-analysis using the Quality Effects Model.
Kelley GA, Kelley KS.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Dec 9:glz284.
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Effects of Meditation and Mind-Body Exercises on Older Adults' Cognitive Performance: A Meta-analysis.
Chan JSY, Deng K, Wu J, Yan JH.
Gerontologist. 2019 Nov 16;59(6):e782-e790.
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Network Meta-Analysis of Various Nonpharmacological Interventions on Pain Relief in Older Adults With Osteoarthritis.
Zhang Q, Young L, Li F.
Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Jun;98(6):469-478.
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Impact of mind-body interventions in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review.
Farhang M, Miranda-Castillo C, Rubio M, Furtado G.
Int Psychogeriatr. 2019 May;31(5):643-666.
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Mind-Body Interventions in Late-Life Mental Illnesses and Cognitive Disorders: A Narrative Review.
Vasudev A, Torres-Platas SG, Kerfoot K, Potes A, Therriault J, Gifuni A, Segal M, Looper KJ, Nair V, Lavretsky H, Rej S.
Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019 May;27(5):536-547.
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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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The Effects of Yoga on Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: A Scoping Review. Brenes GA, Sohl S, Wells RE, Befus D, Campos CL, Danhauer SC.
Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019 Feb;27(2):188-197.
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Systematic Review of Yoga and Balance: Effect on Adults With Neuromuscular Impairment.
Green E, Huynh A, Broussard L, Zunker B, Matthews J, Hilton CL, Aranha K.
Am J Occup Ther. 2019 Jan/Feb;73(1):7301205150p1-7301205150p11.
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The Effects of Mind-Body Exercise on Cognitive Performance in Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Zhang Y, Li C, Zou L, Liu X, Song W.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Dec 9;15(12):2791.
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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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Suggestions for Adapting Yoga to the Needs of Older Adults with Osteoporosis.
McArthur C, Laprade J, Giangregorio LM.
J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Mar;22(3):223-6.
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The Roles of Exercise and Yoga in Ameliorating Depression as a Risk Factor for Cognitive Decline.
Mathersul DC, Rosenbaum S.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:4612953.
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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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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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Notable Publications

Notable Publications (What's this?)

Functional ability is associated with higher adherence to behavioral interventions in mild cognitive impairment.
Sr PAA, DeFeis B, De Wit L, O'Shea D, Mejia A, Chandler M, Locke DEC, Fields J, Phatak V, Dean PM, Crook J, Smith G.
Clin Neuropsychol. 2020 Jul;34(5):937-955.
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Frailty modifies the intervention effect of chair yoga on pain among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis: Secondary analysis of a nonpharmacological intervention trial.
Park J, Sherman DG, Agogo G, Hoogendijk EO, Liu Z.
Exp Gerontol. 2020 Feb 20;134:110886.
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Yoga-plus exercise mix promotes cognitive, affective, and physical functions in elderly people.
Hishikawa N, Takahashi Y, Fukui Y, Tokuchi R, Furusawa J, Takemoto M, Sato K, Yamashita T, Ohta Y, Abe K.
Neurol Res. 2019 Nov;41(11):1001-1007.
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The Effects of 12 Weeks of a Combined Exercise Program on Physical Function and Hormonal Status in Elderly Korean Women.
Im JY, Bang HS, Seo DY.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct 30;16(21):4196.
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Sauna Yoga Superiorly Improves Flexibility, Strength, and Balance: A Two-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Older Adults.
Bucht H, Donath L.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct 2;16(19):3721.
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The application of "upper-body yoga" in elderly patients with acute hip fracture: a prospective, randomized, and single-blind study.
Guo J, Gao C, Xin H, Li J, Li B, Wei Z, Yue Y.
J Orthop Surg Res. 2019 Aug 6;14(1):250.
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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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Comparative Effectiveness of Behavioral Interventions on Quality of Life for Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Chandler MJ, Locke DE, Crook JE, Fields JA, Ball CT, Phatak VS, Dean PM, Morris M, Smith GE.
JAMA Netw Open. 2019 May 3;2(5):e193016.
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Perceived Exertion and Affect From Tai Chi, Yoga, and Stretching Classes for Elderly Women.
Follador L, Alves RC, Ferreira SDS, Silva AC, Silva SGD.
Percept Mot Skills. 2019 Apr;126(2):223-240.
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Yoga to prevent mobility limitations in older adults: feasibility of a randomized controlled trial.
Groessl EJ, Maiya M, Schmalzl L, Wing D, Jeste DV.
BMC Geriatr. 2018 Dec 12;18(1):306.
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Yoga meditation (YoMed) and its effect on proprioception and balance function in elders who have fallen: A randomized control study.
Wooten SV, Signorile JF, Desai SS, Paine AK, Mooney K.
Complement Ther Med. 2018 Feb;36:129-136.
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Adapted yoga to improve physical function and health-related quality of life in physically-inactive older adults: a randomised controlled pilot trial.
Tew GA, Howsam J, Hardy M, Bissell L.
BMC Geriatr. 2017 Jun 23;17(1):131.
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A randomized controlled trial of Kundalini yoga in mild cognitive impairment.
Eyre HA, Siddarth P, Acevedo B, Van Dyk K, Paholpak P, Ercoli L, St Cyr N, Yang H, Khalsa DS, Lavretsky H.
Int Psychogeriatr. 2017 Apr;29(4):557-567.
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Effect of a 12-week yoga therapy program on mental health status in elderly women inmates of a hospice.
Ramanathan M, Bhavanani AB, Trakroo M.
Int J Yoga. 2017 Jan-Apr;10(1):24-28.
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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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Physical-Performance Outcomes and Biomechanical Correlates from the 32-Week Yoga Empowers Seniors Study.
Wang MY, Greendale GA, Yu SS, Salem GJ.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:6921689.
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The Effect of Chair Yoga on Biopsychosocial Changes in English- and Spanish-Speaking Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Lower-Extremity Osteoarthritis.
Park J, Newman D, McCaffrey R, Garrido JJ, Riccio ML, Liehr P.
J Gerontol Soc Work. 2016 Oct-Nov;59(7-8):604-626.
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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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Memory training plus yoga for older adults.
McDougall GJ Jr, Vance DE, Wayde E, Ford K, Ross J.
J Neurosci Nurs. 2015 Jun;47(3):178-88.
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Yoga adherence in older women six months post-osteoarthritis intervention.
Cheung C, Justice C, Peden-McAlpine C.
Glob Adv Health Med. 2015 May;4(3):16-23.
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Greater widespread functional connectivity of the caudate in older adults who practice kripalu yoga and vipassana meditation than in controls.
Gard T, Taquet M, Dixit R, Hölzel BK, Dickerson BC, Lazar SW.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Mar 16;9:137.
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Do 12-week yoga program influence respiratory function of elderly women?
Bezerra LA, de Melo HF, Garay AP, Reis VM, Aidar FJ, Bodas AR, Garrido ND, de Oliveira RJ.
J Hum Kinet. 2014 Nov 12;43:177-84.
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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 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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Effects of yoga on psychological health in older adults.
Bonura KB, Tenenbaum G.
J Phys Act Health. 2014 Sep;11(7):1334-41.
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The effect of chair yoga in older adults with moderate and severe Alzheimer's disease. McCaffrey R, Park J, Newman D, Hagen D.
Res Gerontol Nurs. 2014 Jul-Aug;7(4):171-7.
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A group-based yoga therapy intervention for urinary incontinence in women: a pilot randomized trial.
Huang AJ, Jenny HE, Chesney MA, Schembri M, Subak LL.
Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2014 May-Jun;20(3):147-54.
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Effects of inspiratory muscle training and yoga breathing exercises on respiratory muscle function in institutionalized frail older adults: a randomized controlled trial.
Cebrià i Iranzo Md, Arnall DA, Igual Camacho C, Tomás JM.
J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2014 Apr-Jun;37(2):65-75.
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A 12-week Iyengar yoga program improved balance and mobility in older community-dwelling people: a pilot randomized controlled trial.
Tiedemann A, O'Rourke S, Sesto R, Sherrington C.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 Sep;68(9):1068-75.
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Yoga increases the volume of the hippocampus in elderly subjects.
Hariprasad VR, Varambally S, Shivakumar V, Kalmady SV, Venkatasubramanian G, Gangadhar BN.
Indian J Psychiatry. 2013 Jul;55(Suppl 3):S394-6.
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Effects of yoga intervention on sleep and quality-of-life in elderly: A randomized controlled trial.
Hariprasad VR, Sivakumar PT, Koparde V, Varambally S, Thirthalli J, Varghese M, Basavaraddi IV, Gangadhar BN.
Indian J Psychiatry. 2013 Jul;55(Suppl 3):S364-8.
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Randomized clinical trial of yoga-based intervention in residents from elderly homes: Effects on cognitive function.
Hariprasad VR, Koparde V, Sivakumar PT, Varambally S, Thirthalli J, Varghese M, Basavaraddi IV, Gangadhar BN.
Indian J Psychiatry. 2013 Jul; 55(Suppl 3): S357–S363.
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Designing, validation and feasibility of a yoga-based intervention for elderly.
Hariprasad VR, Varambally S, Varambally PT, Thirthalli J, Basavaraddi IV, Gangadhar BN.
Indian J Psychiatry. 2013 Jul;55(Suppl 3):S344-9.
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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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Physical demand profiles of hatha yoga postures performed by older adults.
Salem GJ, Yu SS, Wang MY, Samarawickrame S, Hashish R, Azen SP, Greendale GA.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:165763.
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The Effects of a Gentle Yoga Program on Sleep, Mood, and Blood Pressure in Older Women with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial.
Innes KE, Selfe TK.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:294058.
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Using silver yoga exercises to promote physical and mental health of elders with dementia in long-term care facilities.
Fan JT, Chen KM.
Int Psychogeriatr. 2011 Oct;23(8):1222-30.
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Yoga respiratory training improves respiratory function and cardiac sympathovagal balance in elderly subjects: a randomised controlled trial.
Santaella DF, Devesa CR, Rojo MR, Amato MB, Drager LF, Casali KR, Montano N, Lorenzi-Filho G.
BMJ Open. 2011 May 24;1(1):e000085.
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Yoga decreases kyphosis in senior women and men with adult-onset hyperkyphosis: results of a randomized controlled trial.
Greendale GA, Huang MH, Karlamangla AS, Seeger L, Crawford S.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Sep;57(9):1569-79.
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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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