Abstract

Preliminary research indicates that yoga could be a valuable tool for people suffering from Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little has been published about the process by which the yoga interventions were designed and evaluated. This study elaborates on the process of developing and testing a bi-weekly, 12-week yoga program to determine its safety and feasibility for people with PD. The lead yoga teacher used input from a focused literature review to design an initial draft of the intervention program. This draft was reviewed by a group of yoga experts (n = 6) to develop the final intervention program. This 12-week intervention was implemented in 19 participants with PD (mean age 63 ± 8, range 49–75) via twice-weekly yoga classes. Through this comprehensive development process, a series of 24 individual 1-hour yoga sequences was created. These sequences included yoga postures (asana), breathing techniques (pranayama), and mindfulness meditation principles specifically chosen to address concerns unique to the PD population. The feasibility of the program was supported with excellent attendance: 90% of participants attended > 75% of the classes, with four participants attending 100%. No adverse events were reported. This development process produced a safe and enjoyable yoga program specific for the needs of people with PD. However, this methodology could serve as a template for future studies on how to develop safe and effective yoga interventions for other populations.

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