Exam stress, so called “growing pains”, cyber bullying...it’s no wonder that according to a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders, 55% of schools have reported a rise in stress and anxiety levels amongst their pupils. But could yoga become an effective tool to help combat that?
Hell yeah! Here at Blossom Yoga Wear we’re convinced it can, that’s why we support a campaign to try and get yoga on the UK National Curriculum. Now a new study can be added to the growing list of research which highlights the range of benefits that yoga and meditation can provide on the psychological development of kids.
The new research from Tulane University assigned anxious children to groups who received either an 8 week programme of yoga and meditation or the usual care of counselling and other activities. The special yoga programme involved 40 minute sessions, held in the morning at school before classes started. Students went through a variety of breathing exercises, guided relaxation and yoga asanas suitable for 8-9 year olds. Using questionnaires to measure quality of life before and after the study, the researchers discovered that children who’d taken part in the yoga programme reported better psychosocial and emotional quality of life.
The results add weight to previous studies which have shown yoga to be a powerful tool in reducing depression and improving moods in anxious youngsters. It’s led to some forward thinking schools to ditch detention in favour of mindfulness. This elementary school in the US uses the Mindful Moment Room rather than traditional punishment, and with profound effects.
Pupils who misbehave are encouraged to take time out to meditate and practice breathing exercises, before discussing what happened. Schools who have implemented these types of mindfulness programmes found the technique not only led to a huge drop in suspensions but also an increase in attendance rates. And it’s not just in the States, in the UK organisations like the charity Mindfulness In Schools Project help to train teachers and spread the message of mindfulness within the classroom.
Hopefully the day when the potential of yoga is put to good use in schools up and down the country is not so far away. In the meantime there are resources out there to help introduce yoga to children. An increasing amount of studios now cater for kids, with specially designed yoga classes that teach using fun interactive stories. There are also resources online with free videos, support and advice available on platforms like www.cosmickids.com.
It makes us excited to think about the positive impact a generation of young people exposed to the good vibes of yoga could have on the world!