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Table 3 Types of yoga used in included studies

From: 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

Types of yoga in included studies (number of studies, total number of participants)


The types of yoga used in studies are similar in structure and postures, and their main features are highlighted below.

Hatha yoga (4 studies, 247 participants)

Traditional yoga that includes combinations of postures, breathing, and meditation [93].

Chair yoga (3 studies, 165 participants)

This essentially follows a traditional Hatha yoga format, but is modified so that chairs are used during practice to accommodate physical limitations [63].

Iyengar yoga (3 studies, 208 participants)

Created by BKS Iyengar; based on Hatha yoga, but emphasis is on strength, balance, and use of props. Usually involves slow movement and holding poses [93].

Silver Yoga (2 studies, 231 participants)

The programme is based on Hatha yoga and Raja yoga (type of yoga that focuses on concentration and meditative techniques). The programme includes gentle stretching postures to increase range of motion and progressive muscle relaxation. Special consideration given for the physical abilities and tolerance of older adults [94].

Balance yoga programme (1 study, 39 participants)

This programme is based on a study by the authors showing specific muscle utilization patterns during different flow-based yoga poses. The programme has three levels of difficulty, becoming progressively challenging [56].

The Easy Does It Yoga Programme (2 studies, 496 participants)

Yoga programme designed for older adults [66].

Thai Yoga (1 study, 33 participants)

Thai Yoga is similar to the Hatha yoga style. However, it is less strenuous and incorporates postures that are less challenging and easier to perform than those of Hatha yoga [72].

British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Gentle Years Yoga programme (1 study, 47 participants)

The British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Gentle Years Yoga programme was developed to cater to the needs of older people with age-related conditions (osteoarthritis, hypertension, dementia, and sensory impairment). Hatha yoga poses were adapted so that older adults with comorbidities and physical limitations could safely participate [77].