The impact of yoga in medically underserved populations: A mixed-methods study

Dagmara I. Moscoso, David Goese, Gregory J. Van Hyfte*, Zelda Mayer, Loretta Cain, Frances Kobiernicki, Angela Cano-Garcia, Crystal Unzueta, L. Tatiana Ormaza, Kohar Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: We evaluated the acceptability, access, and impact of yoga among participants in yoga classes co-located in community health centers. Design: Participants were invited to complete a mixed-methods program evaluation consisting of a pre/post survey at their first class and structured interviews at 4 months. Setting: The study took place at two community health centers on the South Side of Chicago, IL, USA. Interventions: Four weekly 1–1.5 hour yoga classes were provided by four certified yoga instructors trained to teach to all ability levels. Measures: Our primary outcome measures were pain and stress before and after the first class, and at 4-months. We gathered data about participant demographics, their health problems, how they accessed the classes, and motivations and barriers to attending. We also extracted themes from participants’ qualitative feedback about their experiences. Results: Overall, 70 participants completed the initial surveys; 44 completed the 4-month interviews. A racially and ethnically diverse group of middle- and low-income adult patients and community members attended, with flyers and word of mouth the major routes to the class. A single yoga class provided statistically significant decreases in pain and stress, but these benefits were not demonstrated at the 4-month follow-up. The primary motivators for yoga class attendance were stress relief, exercise, and overall health improvement. Primary barriers included family issues, schedule, illness, and work conflicts. Primary benefits included physical benefits, relaxation, emotional benefits, and community connectedness. Conclusions: Co-locating yoga classes in community health centers provides a variety of benefits and is a viable pathway to addressing disparities in yoga access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Health services research
  • Interprofessional practice
  • Medically underserved population
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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