Healthy Aging

  •  Yoga Empowers Seniors Study (YESS)

    Many reputable sources claim that yoga is an ideal exercise for older adults—even for those who have osteoarthritis or other neuromusculoskeletal diseases. With its combination of physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, yoga is said to provide benefits that include cardiovascular fitness, resistance training for muscle strength and bone health, flexibility, and relaxation. Led by Dr. George Salem in collaboration with Dr. Gail Greendale of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics, the Yoga Empowers Seniors Study (YESS) seeks to determine the safety and effectiveness of a 32-week yoga program designed for adults ages 65 and over. This three-year intervention development study (IDS) followed the progress of 24 senior participants.

    Each participant attended two 16-week hatha yoga classes (beginning and intermediate). Measurements of the participants’ walking stride length, balance, muscle strength, and ability to perform everyday movements (physical function) were taken at the beginning of the study and at the end of each phase. These assessments were captured using high-speed cameras, computer models of the musculoskeletal system, force platforms, and electromyographic equipment. Data from YESS will be used to develop safe and effective yoga programs for seniors that are expected to result in fewer musculoskeletal side effects than those associated with non-evidence-based yoga practices. The new programs will be tested in a Phase II randomized controlled trial.

    For more information, contact:
    George Salem, PhD
    Principal Investigator
    (323) 442-3113

    Or visit this NIH website:

    Grant #: R01 AT004869
    Sponsor: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health