It has been stated time and time again that yoga provides heaps of benefits to those who take the time to learn and participate in it. It is calming, helps the body with flexibility and even improves health. Parents may want to start enrolling their teen in some yoga classes, as adults aren’t the only ones who can reap the benefits from yoga, growing adolescents can, too. A recent study has examined the benefits teens can gain from doing yoga and how it affects teens’ mental health.
A study called “Benefits of yoga for psychological well-being in a US high school curriculum: a preliminary randomized controlled trial” was published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. This study observed whether or not a yoga class in a high school curriculum was feasible and also measured its benefits to students’ psychological well-being. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School led a study that involved 51 junior and senior high school students to see how yoga affected their mental health and moods.
The study asked students to participate in a ten-week-long physical education class. Students either took a class that included yoga or did not. The yoga class used Kripalu based yoga, which is a form of Hatha yoga that uses inner focus, meditation, standard yoga poses, breathing, the development of a quiet mind and relaxation. It also seeks to emphasize self-acceptance, a tool that would highly benefit teens. For the study, the yoga class included meditation, breathing exercises and yoga poses.
In addition to participating in the classes, one week before the classes began students were asked to take several psychological tests. These tests examined mood problems, anxiety, mindfulness, resilience and the teens’ expression of anger. Students were again asked to take these tests one week after the classes ended.
What researchers found corresponded with information that has been established through other studies, which also examined the benefits yoga provided for students. Students in this study who had participated in the yoga class scored higher on some of the psychological tests than the teens who chose to participate in the regular physical education class. This included students in the regular class scoring higher for mood problems and anxiety while yoga students scored lower or remained the same. Moreover, teens who didn’t do yoga reported more negative emotions during the study while the teens in the yoga class reported fewer.
As for the feasibility, researchers were glad to find that the teens responded well to the yoga class. Up to 75 percent of the teens in the yoga class reported that they enjoyed it and would like to continue taking the class.
From what they found, the study’s researchers believe that yoga can help prevent mental health issues or stop them from worsening. Other sources have found that yoga provides even more benefits to teens. These include finding confidence, overcoming fear, promoting health, providing stress relief and even helping teens build meaningful friendships.
Schools districts should consider the idea of implementing yoga classes either as a physical education elective or an after school activity. It may benefit teens more than initially thought. The reduction in mental health issues, mood problems and more can also reduce the risk of a teen developing substance abuse or worse mental health problems.
Yoga can also help teens in rehab recovering from mental health disorders and/or substance abuse as well. For those teens struggling with either of these problems, you can find out more about treatment for teen boys at www.whiteriveracademy.com or by calling 866-520-0905.