These 3 Studies Show how Yoga Improves Stress Management, Spatial Memory, and Body Control in Children
by Alex Bonari, guest blogger
Yoga for children can seem unnecessary. After all, they’re young, so aren’t they already limber? They shouldn’t have any problems with stretching, their lives aren’t as stressful as those of adults, and it would probably be difficult to get children interested in a yoga routine.
As it turns out, scientific research has proven that logic wrong. No matter how healthy a child’s body may be, it can always benefit from yoga practice. Children’s lives are also becoming more stressful and they seem to welcome the novelty and relaxation that accompany yoga instruction. The following three articles discuss the results of scientific research that has documented the positive effects of yoga on children.
In this study, 48 fifth-graders who showed abnormal test anxiety were divided into a control group of 27 and an experimental group of 21. The experimental group received 60 minutes of yoga instruction on 15 different occasions, while the control group received none. The subjects were evaluated before the study, immediately after the yogic training, and 3 months after the conclusion of the study.
The students who received yoga instruction had an increased emotional balance in the long term and showed reductions in fear, feelings of helplessness, and aggression. This study also observed that students who received yoga instruction transferred what they had learned to situations outside of school to improve their well-being and to control negative feelings.
This study compared before-and-after verbal and spatial test results for three groups of children: those attending a fine arts camp, those attending a yoga camp, and a control group.
The only group that showed any difference between its before-and-after test results was the yoga group, which demonstrated a 43% rate of improvement in the spatial category. This suggests that yoga practice, which included physical postures, yoga breathing, meditation, and guided relaxation in the study, improved the performance of children’s right-hemisphere brain activity.
In this study, children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve the attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested morning and night to observe their steadiness.
The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness at the end of the period, while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies.
Guest Blogger Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She often can be found blogging about general education issues as well as information on college scholarships. In her spare time she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
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