Readers of this blog will know about the remarkable changes our Impact & Change programme has brought to children in the UK’s primary schools. (For more information, see this story). So we were delighted to learn about a new study proving the mental and psychological effects of yoga for teens.
Harvard Medical School has just released a study about the psychological benefits of yoga on teenagers in 11th and 12th grade. Published in the April issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the study concluded that yoga may “serve a preventative role in adolescent mental health” by providing teens with beneficial ways to deal with stress and trauma, instead of falling into the dangerous and destructive behavioural patterns so common in high schools across the States.
51 high school students took part in the study. They were randomly assigned to either regular PE classes, or Kripalu-style yoga classes that included asana, pranayama, relaxation exercises, and mediation. The students were given multiple tests and questionnaires, before and after the 10-week program, regarding their levels of anxiety and stress, their anger management abilities, and their mindfulness and resilience in the face of challenges. The results show that students who took yoga were better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs than those in the regular PE classes. Since mental health disorders often form in the teenage years, learning effective healthy coping strategies for dealing with stress is essential during this time.
Although the study was small, its results are nevertheless promising.It’s great to see further evidence of how yoga teaches young adults positive ways to react and deal with life’s challenges.