This article reports a multicity study on the effect of a yoga education program (YEP) in improving memory and cognitive functions of a nonclinical sample of community-dwelling older adults. Specifically, the intervening personal resources that bolster or hinder YEP effectiveness were examined. Of the original cohort of 918 older adults randomized into intervention and waitlist control groups, 792 remained with the study 5 years later. Results indicated that weekly YEP lessons and self-practice improved participants' scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test-Third Edition (RBMT-3). Participants from Asian cities, women, Hindus and Buddhists, middle class, highly educated, retired, ever single or widowed, living alone or with children and kin, were more responsive to the YEP. Regular attendance and self-practice were strong moderators of YEP effectiveness, with self-practice having the strongest predictor effect. Some cultural variations and improvisations would lend the YEP a wider application.
Keywords: follow-up study; memory; older adults; waitlist control design; yoga; yoga education program.