Participants’ Experiences of a Mixed-Ability Yoga Series
The practice of yoga encourages individuals to work within their own bodies to bring balance and health to the mind, body and spirit, providing relief for symptoms of chronic conditions. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of individuals participating in a series of mixed-ability yoga classes. Barriers and facilitators to their participation were also explored. Seven participants were recruited from the mixed physical and mental ability yoga classes. Semi–structured interviews were used to collect data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data and develop themes. Prominent themes were Engagement Partnerships, Physical Activity Beliefs, Supported Participation and Concepts of Disability. These themes provided insight into the experiences of participants and the facilitators and barriers that influenced their participation. Additionally, themes were supported by literature on group cohesion and self-efficacy that highlight the potential for change to group exercise classes with cross over into rehabilitation classes. The importance of appropriate adaptation through skilled instructors was key to the success of the mixed-ability yoga series, as was the promotion of inclusion and understanding of perceptions of disability. Participants experienced health benefits from the mixed-ability yoga class. The fundamental concepts of the class can be applied in physiotherapy practice to promote physical activity for all.