Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Children Will Benefit from Yoga Training

how to become a yoga teacher online
By Faye Martins

The discipline of yoga provides school children an opportunity to connect mind and body, increase self-awareness and encourage healthy living. In a study of 48 fifth graders with abnormal test anxiety, students were divided into a control and experimental group that received yoga instructions for 60 minutes in 15 different sessions. Stuck and Gloeckner, of Leipzig University in Germany, evaluated students before the study, after the study and three months following the study (Early Child Development and Care, 2005). They found that students in the experimental group had long-term results of emotional balance with decreased feelings of helplessness, fear and aggression. They transferred what they learned to situations outside of school to control their feelings of negativity and improve their sense of well-being.

Another study compared the before and after spatial and visual tests of three groups of children either attending a fine arts camp, yoga camp or in a control group. The yoga camp focused on breathing, posture exercises and meditation. Only the yoga group improved their spatial memory and right brain activity by 43%. In a similar study, children ages 9-13 years were divided into a control group and a yoga training group that had exercises in breathing, visual focusing, silence, posturing and games to increase memory and attention span. The yoga group had a 17% increase in ability to control their bodies and mind.

In a study by Kiselia, Baker, Thomas and Reedy (Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1994), stress management programs showed an improvement in self-esteem, concentration, academic performance, classroom behavior and emotional balance. It also decreased feelings of aggression, helplessness and behavioral problems. Yoga adds an internal locus of control, helps motivate students and gives them restful sleep. Students start listening to their own emotions leading to increased self-awareness that provides a buffer against the negative aspects of our culture that encourage unhealthy eating habits and poor body image.

Yoga is an effective discipline for students to learn from kindergarten to high school. It also assists children with learning behavior issues, cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome. Yoga practices can be adapted to physical education and after school programs in a safe and accepting environment. The emphasis is on the individual rather than competition among students. Calm, centered and focused students have better social skills, learning behaviors and are happier. There are many resources, including DVDs, articles, books and podcasts, available to parents and educators. 

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