Yoga meditation (YoMed) and its effect on proprioception and balance function in elders who have fallen: A randomized control study

Complement Ther Med. 2018 Feb;36:129-136. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.12.010. Epub 2017 Dec 29.


Objective: Yoga has been shown to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. However, the impact of meditation on dynamic factors such as gait, reactive balance and proprioception has yet to be examined. The purpose of this study was to test if a novel yoga meditation program (YoMed) is as effective as a standard proprioceptive training in improving proprioception, balance and power in older individuals who have fallen.

Design: Sixteen older persons were randomly assigned to either the YoMed Group (YM) or Proprioception Training Group (PT). Each group received 45 min of training, 3 days per week, for 6 weeks. Pretest and post-test outcome measures were used to quantify the comparative effects of the interventions.

Setting: Research Laboratory.

Interventions: Yoga meditation and proprioceptive training.

Main outcome measures: The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), the Tenetti Balance and Gait Assessment, dynamic posturography, joint position sense, joint kinesthesia and leg extensor power.

Results: The primary findings of the study were that neither the YM or PT intervention groups showed statistical improvements in any variable with the exception of the dynamic posturography overall score (DMA), which showed a significant improvement by the YM group (d = 1.238; p = 0.049). Additionally changes in a number of variables that did not reach significance demonstrated effect sizes in the medium to high range.

Conclusion: These results indicate the potential for the YoMed program to be used as a clinical intervention in older individuals. Given these results a longer study using a larger sample size and individuals at higher risk of falling is warranted.

Keywords: Action observation; Balance; Elderly; Mirror neurons; Motor imagery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Meditation*
  • Mirror Neurons / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Yoga*