A new study by has revealed the staggering effect of yoga on student’s anxiety in school.
The rate of stress and anxiety among children and teens is increasing, especially at school. The rate of growth in anxiety is fueled largely by pressure at school, bullying, and the impact of social media. Increasingly we are seeing the need to equip kids and teens with tools to handle stress and anxiety in school. And one of those tools is yoga.
An experimental study by Dr. Sarita Goswami [Associate prof, IIMT University, Meerut] has revealed significant benefits of yoga for student’s with anxiety. In the study, 100 students were selected to practice a yoga routine to determine the effects of yoga on anxiety in school.
Dr. Goswami states that when students are sent to college or university, is a new environment that is conducive to stress, and not just because of the pressure of studying. The new social environment, along with per pressure, can cause significant anxiety in students. And it is imperative that students be given a way to handle that anxiety in order to protect their mental health.
One tool that can help students manage anxiety is yoga. It is well known that there are significant mental health benefits of yoga. Yoga, which literally means “unity of mind and spirit” can create a sense of inner balance and harmony that offers relief from stress. Practicing yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which leads to feelings of relaxation.
Dr. Goswami states that the nature of our education system, in which children and teens are based on performance, is conducive to anxiety. Those who do not succeed in their exams often feel like quitting and do indeed drop-out, which is a failure of the education system. Parents often increase pressure on students by demanding good grades, which some students are simply unable to achieve.
This is especially impactful on adolescent students. Adolescence is a period of bodily and psychological growth in which the individual is discovering themselves. It is a period of time in itself that can increase feelings of anxiety. The pressure of school adds to this and can overburden the individual.
The good news is that yoga can help.
In Yoga Sutras 52 and 53, Patanjali explained the importance of pranayama (yogic breathing technique). Pranayama (yogic breathing) can reduce mental tension and muscle tension and promote the relaxation response. Combining pranayama with asanas (yoga poses) and meditation provides significant emotional and psychological benefits for students.
In the study, Dr. Goswami took 100 test subjects and asked them to complete a questionnaire that was designed to reveal their level of anxiety in school. Students were then given a yogic intervention program that consisted of OM chanting, 12 asana Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation, a traditional yoga practice) and Pragya Yog (a Hatha yoga routine consisting of 16 asanas). The students followed the program for 20 days for 30 minutes a day. The students then completed a second questionnaire to measure their anxiety levels.
The results of the study show that the majority of students in secondary education experience moderate levels of anxiety, and that there are significant benefits of yoga for anxiety in school. The authors of the study recommend using a combination of meditation, pranayama (yogic breathing) and asana (yoga poses) to reduce anxiety in students.
Another highly recommended method is to use mindfulness in school.
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