Benefits of Yoga
Yoga Benefits Kids has two main purposes: to improve psychological and physical well-being.
The infusion of yoga with a standard curriculum is being adopted in various parts of the western world because of its successes with children. One particular type of program, termed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), has been implemented in the United Kingdom, Canada, and throughout the United States. Tools learned from this instruction include breath work, careful listening, movement, and reflection, which enable students to reduce anxiety, conflict, and attention disorders. A teacher introduced MBSR after experiencing problems with classroom management and witnessing an escalation of conflicts on the playground. These episodes were affecting the students’ ability to concentrate in class. After integrating yoga, there was an immediate, noticeable difference. There was improved student interaction at recess, the children harbored less anxiety about upcoming tests, and they entered the classroom with more inner peace. Not only did behavior improve, but test scores rose that year as well.
Suttie, J. (2007) Mindfulness and Meditation in Schools for Stress Management. Greater Good Magazine. v1 n4
Researchers at California State University recently examined the correlation between yoga and academic performance, discipline, attendance, and self-esteem. The study showed a 20% increase in the number of students who felt good about themselves and a six percent increase in classroom discipline, indicating that students who had high participation in yoga class also had fewer referrals or discipline problems. These research results also showed a “statistically significant” link between yoga participation and better grades.
Slovacek, S. P., Tucker, S. A., & Pantoja, L. (2003) A Study of the Yoga Ed Program at The Accelerated School. P2, 10.
Much research supports that young children show clear stress consequences related to experience, behavior, and health. Stress is a common emotion among children – particularly that which is caused by fear of failure. Research was conducted to determine if relaxation-based lessons decrease the amount of negative emotion among children. The technique, Training of Relaxation with Elements of Yoga for Children, used breath exercises, imagination journeys, and yoga to introduce self-control and relaxation. The research results show that this training increased long-term emotional balance, reduced fears, and decreased feelings of helplessness and aggression.
Stueck, M.; Gloeckner, N. (2005) Yoga for Children in the Mirror of the Science: Working Spectrum and Practice Fields of the Training of Relaxation with Elements of Yoga for Children. Early Child Development and Care. v175 n4 p371-377.
The Gurukula Education System (GES) is the oldest system of education in the Indian culture, which incorporates mind-calming breathing techniques and yoga postures. Modern Education System, which is a classification found throughout the United States, focuses primarily on the development of the left-brain. It often defines success as the amount of money someone earns and neglects to encourage wellbeing and the full maturation of personality. The GES approach provides a value system whereby individuals can acquire the skills and professionalism required by society to build ideal social values. In a comparison of the two systems, results revealed the GES curriculum included practices that more effectively calmed the students’ minds and developed their cognitive skills. GES students showed significantly more improvement in IQ, memory, sustained attention, and planning ability.
Ragan, R. A Comparison of Cognitive Functions of Yoga-based (Gurukula) with Modern Education System. HYPERLINK "http://www.svyasa.org/theses/Rangan.asp" www.svyasa.org/theses/Rangan.asp.
In an effort to prove that yoga and physical activity should be added to the schedule of girls who live at a community home in South India, the Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation studied the effects of yoga and physical activity on the heart and breathing rates. Two groups were selected to either participate in yoga (concentrating on relaxation and awareness) or games (focusing on physical activity). Compared to students not enrolled in the program, both groups showed a substantial decrease in the resting heart rate and significantly lower breath rates.
Telles, S., Narendran, et al. (1996) Comparison of Changes in Autonomic and Respiratory Parameters of Girls After Yoga and Games at a Community Home. p1, 4, 5.
The Department of Nursing at the Chung Jen College of Nursing in Chiayi City, Taiwan conducted research to discover the relationship between yoga and the improvements in physical fitness and effects on asthma. Over a consecutive seven-week period, research proved there to be a positive association between yoga, muscular strength, and endurance among asthmatic children. The analysis showed yoga exercise clearly improved body mass index (BMI), flexibility, and muscular endurance. Additionally, after two weeks of self-practice at home, yoga exercise continued to improve BMI, flexibility, muscular strength, and cardiopulmonary fitness.
Chen, T. L, et al. (2009) The effect of yoga exercise intervention on health related physical fitness in school-age asthmatic children. 56(2) p42-52.