Objective: To determine if diverse and underserved populations report benefit from Yoga practices and report an intention to continue with Yoga, meditation, or breathing practices.
Design: This was a retrospective study using archival data from exit questionnaires acquired at the end of Yoga programs serving diverse populations. Qualitative data was also collected from the Yoga teachers.
Setting: Free Kripalu Yoga classes offered to diverse and underserved/underprivileged populations (e.g., minority groups, the elderly, gay populations), as part of the Teaching for Diversity (TFD) program through the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (KCYH).
Participants: 220 participants, ranging in age from adolescence through old age.
Measures: Nine questions about the perceived benefits and usefulness of Yoga practices in everyday life were administered to participants on the last day of class. Qualitative data was collected from teachers regarding their experience teaching underserved populations.
Results: Of the 220 respondents, 89% reported that the Yoga class left them with a feeling of overall wellness, and 83% found the practices helpful. 98% reported that they would recommend this Yoga class to others. Participants found the individual Yoga components of the breathing, Yoga postures, and meditation practices effective and said they were useful in their daily life. Pairwise t-test comparisons of average scores between these three practices indicated that participants were more likely to rate breathing useful as compared to either the postures or meditation (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Diverse and underserved populations report benefit from and interest in Yoga, meditation, and breathing practices.