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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 165763, 29 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/165763
Research Article

Physical Demand Profiles of Hatha Yoga Postures Performed by Older Adults

1Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California (USC), 1540 E. Alcazar Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
2Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, USA
3Division of Geriatrics, Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 924 Westwood Boulevard, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA

Received 3 May 2013; Revised 30 July 2013; Accepted 4 August 2013

Academic Editor: Byung-Cheul Shin

Copyright © 2013 George J. Salem et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Understanding the physical demands placed upon the musculoskeletal system by individual postures may allow experienced instructors and therapists to develop safe and effective yoga programs which reduce undesirable side effects. Thus, we used biomechanical methods to quantify the lower extremity joint angles, joint moments of force, and muscle activities of 21 Hatha yoga postures, commonly used in senior yoga programs. Twenty older adults, 70.7 years ± 3.8 years, participated in a 32-wk yoga class (2 d/wk) where they learned introductory and intermediate postures (asanas). They then performed the asanas in a motion analysis laboratory. Kinematic, kinetic, and electromyographic data was collected over three seconds while the participants held the poses statically. Profiles illustrating the postures and including the biomechanical data were then generated for each asana. Our findings demonstrated that Hatha yoga postures engendered a range of appreciable joint angles, JMOFs, and muscle activities about the ankle, knee, and hip, and that demands associated with some postures and posture modifications were not always intuitive. They also demonstrated that all of the postures elicited appreciable rectus abdominis activity, which was up to 70% of that induced during walking.