Y4c backgroundCelebrating September
as a National
Yoga Month
, we are turning to the numerous benefits of yoga for children. Although
the research on the effects of yoga practices, especially school-based programs,
is only beginning to tap into the issues our kids are facing in various environments,
we would like to share our current comprehensive research database.

Overall,
it has been shown by scientific researchers that yoga and mindfulness practices
address the whole child, thus maximizing the academic, social and
emotional competence
development in the educational and other similar settings.

Our program, Yoga 4 Classrooms®, is anchored in
well-validated evidence-based classroom pedagogies, developmental science,
cross-sectional research in cognitive affective neuroscience, tenets of
positive psychology and secular contemplative practices. Therefore, the list of relevant scientific publications
is updated constantly and features the published peer-reviewed articles in the
following categories: Yoga in Schools/Classrooms, Mindfulness in
Schools/Classrooms, Yoga and Mindfulness Effects on Stress in Children, Yoga
and Mindfulness for Special Needs Children, Yoga and Learning.
We also keep
track of supporting articles describing yoga and mindfulness benefits in mass
media.

Overwhelmingly, research shows that
children who practice yoga-based movement, conscious breathing, and mindfulness
activities are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm
themselves. They may also choose better foods to eat and engage in more
physical activity than children who do not. The studies also illustrate that
centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social
skills and, in general, are much happier kids.

Recent scientific reviews highlight
the following effects of yoga on children:
DrawbridgeBoy

  • Improve attention and emotional
    control
  • Help manage chronic illness
  • Improve prefrontal cortex function,
    including the ability to plan and execute complex functions
  • Influence neurotransmitter function
  • Improve strength and flexibility of
    muscles while increasing circulation, uptake of oxygen, and functioning of
    hormones
  • Parasympathetic nervous system may
    become more dominant and stabilize the autonomic nervous system to enhance
    resistance to the effects of stress.

In light of increasing evidence
supporting the efficacy of yoga in children, special yoga-based programs are
being developed for children which:

  • address stress and anxiety by
    treating the body and mind
  • place emphasis on individual
    abilities rather than competition
  • provide non-threatening and gentle
    method to increase physical fitness and enhance health and well-being.

Emotional intelligence, social
competency, adaptable coping strategies, compassionate and positive attitudes,
ability to focus – all these skills are cultivated by the consistent and
supportive practice of yoga and mindfulness techniques, made developmentally appropriate
for use with children of various ages. It is motivating to see the scientific
community investigate these skills and programs and help move the research and
implementation efforts forward for a healthier and happier generation.

For other useful research resources you can visit:

OMazing Kids
International Association for School Yoga and Mindfulness ( IASYM)

..and multiple organizations and centers doing specific research related to yoga and mindfulness in various domains listed on Yoga 4 Classrooms website.