A recent study conducted by researchers at Tulane University found that a school-based yoga program yielded positive outcomes for third-grade students. The University published their findings in the journal Psychology Research and Behavior Management in early April. The study was co-funded by the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking and the Center for Public Service at Tulane University.
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Tulane researchers focused on third-grade students as this academic year often presents itself as challenging for many elementary students. During the third grade, academic expectations become more challenging as schools begin to prepare students for the rigors of higher grades and the transition to middle school. Third grade is also the year that many students experience state-mandated achievement tests.
The study collected data on public school third-grade students identified as demonstrating anxiety and stress. Researchers screened students at the start of the school year and selected 52 students for the study. The students were into two groups. The control group, consisting of 32 students received supports usually provided by the school social worker, which did not include yoga. The remaining 20 students enrolled in a Yoga Education curriculum.
This curriculum introduced students to yoga and mindfulness activities over a course of eight weeks.
Over the next two months, students in the small yoga group practiced breathing exercises, relaxation activities, and yoga poses before beginning their regular school day. Researchers collected data throughout the study, tracking the emotional well-being of the students.
Related: Using Yoga and Mindfulness to Help Kids Learn: A Teacher's Perspective
Ultimately, researchers found a positive correlation between practicing yoga and mindful activities and decreasing stress and anxiety levels in children. Their study reported: "The intervention was associated with a significant improvement in the emotional and psychosocial quality of life in the intervention group when compared to the control group, suggesting that yoga/mindfulness interventions may improve symptoms of anxiety among students."
To read the full study, click here.