Effects on Children
A number of studies have shown that yoga can have a positive effect on children. It can improve their flexibility, help them deal with stress and anxiety, and have positive effects on their body image and awareness.
In this study, the effects of yoga were tested over 8 weeks on 26 children varying from ages 10 to 12, with the goal being to measure the effect it had on their overall strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
After the test had concluded, all children showed significant improvements in two areas; balance and flexibility. With yoga being deemed a beneficial exercise that could be practiced in school settings.
Yoga also has the potential to help children deal with their mental health. Around the world, mind-body therapies such as yoga are being used to help children manage anxiety and stress. Not only that but evidence shows that these practices, do indeed work.
What effect does yoga have on students?
Yoga can help students with their creativity and spontaneous thinking. In the study linked here, 92 students were given the task of investigating the impact of a 20-minute session of traditional yoga would have over a 20-minute case study session. Needless to say, the group that carried out the yoga sessions reported a significant improvement in their divergent thinking compared to the group that had not.
Yoga can help with academic stress, too. One group, containing a mix of both high-stress and low-stress students, were tested on whether a yoga module would have a positive effect on their academic studies. The experimental group who had been practicing yoga ended up performing better than the control group who hadn’t been practicing.
Research shows that the regular practice of Yoga Nidra (a type of conscious state between sleep and wakefulness) can positively affect life-stress and self-esteem in university students, as well.
And what about older adults?
In rural Wisconsin, 20 adults over the age of 59 took part in a study aiming to measure the benefits that yoga could have on fall prevention. Before the adults had started the yoga sessions, 4 falls were reported amongst them. During and shortly after the study, no falls were recorded. The study came to the conclusion that a yoga program for older adults could help them to improve their core strength and balance, and potentially lower fall risk.
Likewise, in this pilot study, the effects of a 12-week yoga intervention on balance and the fear of falling (FoF) in older adults, concluded that yoga practice was very effective when applied to these areas. At the end of the test, results showed a 6 percent reduction in FoF amongst the adults; whilst their static balance and flexibility scores had shown improvements of both 6 and 34 percent, respectively.
Yoga could prove to be beneficial in helping older adults to stay active too. According to statistics, adults tend to become more inactive as they grow older, with many eventually giving up on exercising completely. With regular exercise being linked to feelings of well-being and happiness in older adults, yoga could potentially offer a glimmer of hope for those who are disabled or unable to leave their homes.
Evaluating the impact of a brief yoga intervention on preadolescents body image and mood
Emma Halliwell, Hannah Jarman, Tracy L. Tyka, Amy Slater
The effects of yoga practice on balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility in healthy children aged 10-12 years
Betsy Donahoe-Fillmore, Ethan Grant
The benefits of yoga in children
The effect of Hatha yoga intervention on students’ creative ability
Asish Bollimbala, P.S James, Shirshendu Ganguli
Effect of yoga on academic performance in relation to stress
Amits Kauts, Neelam Sharma
Effects of a yoga nidra on the life stress and self esteem in university students
Kim Sang Dol
Developments of a falls reduction yoga program for older adults - a pilot study
Paul D. Smith, Paul Mross, Nate Christopher
Effect of a 12-Week Yoga Intervention on Fear of Falling and Balance in Older Adults: A Pilot Study
Arlene A. Schmid Ph.D.,OTR, Marieke van Pyumbroek Ph.D, CTRS, David M. Koceja Ph.D
Effects of physical exercise programme on happiness among older people
M.Khazaee-pool Ph.D., R. Sadeghi Ph.D., F Majlessi MD & MPH in MCH, A Rahimi Foroushani Ph.D