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How High Schoolers Went to Yoga

Take away

Yoga improved attention and decreased hyperactivity / impulsivity in a large group of high-school students.


Why should I care?

Chances are juggling work, family, and pandemic keep you on your toes 24-7. Proper stress management is the key to stay sane and healthy in mind, body, and spirit. In this paper, scientists focused on a group of people for whom high levels of stress is characteristic. They showed that yoga was effective for those people, which suggests it may work for you, too.


Background

High level of stress is unfortunately unavoidable in our modern life. It is especially true during global health crisis we got to experience last couple of years. High school students are among the most susceptible to heightened levels of stress. Because of stress, about a third of them report being overwhelmed and depressed, according to American Psychological Association. These numbers are troubling because such symptoms in teenage years lead to an array of mental health issues in adulthood. How can we teach our young to cope with staggering stress levels in a sustainable, drug-free way?


Set up

A study from Baylor College of Medicine recruited 174 ninth-graders. 123 of them practiced yoga twice a week for 12 weeks. The rest 51 were in the control group. Each yoga session lasted only 25 minutes and consisted of 18 minutes of postures and seven minutes of meditation. Students were asked to complete a psychological questionnaire screening for ADHD symptoms: inattention and hyperactivity / impulsivity. The scores were obtained at the beginning of the study and after 12 weeks were concluded, allowing to analyze if there were improvements in the yoga group compared to the control group.


Results

High-schoolers who practiced yoga improved their attention scores and decreased in their hyperactivity / impulsivity scores. As for the control group, the students showed decreased attention, and unchanged hyperactivity / impulsivity scores. What makes this result particularly note-worthy is that the end of the study (when the final assessment was conducted) coincided with finals time, when the stakes for the students are high and stress levels are elevated. The results suggest that yoga may help to be more productive and focus more efficiently on the task at hand.


Where can I get some yoga?

While we are building, donation based outdoor classes are led by our teachers three times a week. It is in Blakeney Park - follow us on social media (@athayogaclt) for info on who is teaching and what class format is next. Download our app or create an account online to sign up and join!

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