Yoga Can Benefit Teenagers\' Mental Well-being

According to a new study, regular yoga classes may have positive psychological effects for high school students.

What do triangle pose, downward facing dog, and warrior pose have to do with preventing mental health disorders throughout teenage years? Perhaps a lot, according to a new pilot study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

Adolescence is a time when mental health is critically important, as many aspects of mental wellness are being developed. The study suggested that regular yoga classes have positive psychological effects for high school students. In the study 51 US students in grades 11 and 12 were either assigned to regular physical education classes or yoga classes for 10 weeks. The yoga classes featured breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation, in addition to the physical yoga poses (asanas) incorporated into the practice.

All of the students completed several psychological tests before and after the program, testing tension and anxiety, and the development of self-regulatory skills such as control of anger expression and mindfulness, which are thought to help prevent mental health problems.

Overall, those in the yoga group showed significantly better scores, while those in the regular physical education classes stayed the same, or even had increased scores for anxiety and negative emotions.

Nearly 75 percent of the students said that they would like to continue yoga classes after the program. If, like these students, you’re interested in yoga classes, but your high school gym teachers prefer dodge ball to Namaste, don’t worry—there are plenty of yoga classes available outside of school hours, at yoga studios and community centres alike. You can even practise at home—check out these yoga poses for youth.


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