Poststroke balance improves with yoga: A pilot study

Arlene A. Schmid, Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Peter A. Altenburger, Nancy L. Schalk, Tracy A. Dierks, Kristine K. Miller, Teresa M. Damush, Dawn M. Bravata, Linda S. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE-: Balance impairment is common after stroke; modified yoga may be able to improve balance and other important poststroke variables. Scientific-evidence is needed to support such treatment interventions. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of a yoga-based rehabilitation intervention on balance, balance self-efficacy, fear of falling (FoF), and quality of life after stroke. METHODS-: This was a prospective, randomized, pilot study of yoga-based rehabilitation for people with chronic stroke. All yoga sessions were taught by a registered yoga therapist, occurred twice per week for 8 weeks and included seated, standing, and floor postures with relaxation and meditation. Balance was assessed with the Berg Balance Scale, balance self-efficacy with the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, FoF with a dichotomous yes/no question, and quality of life with the Stroke Specific Quality of Life scale. RESULTS-: There were no significant differences between wait-list control (n=10) and yoga (n=37) groups in baseline or follow-up scores. However, using within-group comparisons, yoga group data demonstrated significant improvement in balance (Berg Balance Scale, 41.3±11.7 vs 46.3±9.1; P<0.001) and FoF (51% vs 46% with FoF; P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS-: A group yoga-based rehabilitation intervention for people with chronic stroke has potential in improving multiple poststroke variables. Group yoga may be complementary to rehabilitation, may be possible in medical-based and community-based settings, and may be cost-effective. Further testing of group yoga-based rehabilitation interventions is warranted. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION-: URL: Unique Identifier: NCT01109602.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2402-2407
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • balance
  • exercise
  • functional recovery
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke recovery
  • yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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