The aim of this exploratory study was to explore how young people explain the benefits of yoga using a qualitative approach. This research study was done with a group of students between 11 and 13, who had been voluntarily attending the after school yoga classes for between one month and a year, although some had previous yoga or meditation experience. The young people described a range of physical and psychological benefits from the yoga classes and responded positively to it being taught in schools. This study also gives a greater insight into the mental health needs of young people and how negative influences, such as stress and pressure, can be reduced.
This article discusses yoga as a potential tool for children to deal with stress and self-regulate. The author looks at how children and young people are exposed to new demands, standards, and options and to increased pressure to succeed
in school. A central idea in the article is that yoga may help children and young people cope with stress and thus, contribute positively to balance in life, well-being, and mental health. It presents research literature suggesting that yoga improves children’s physical and mental well-being and that, when used in schools it can help students improve resilience, mood, and self-regulation skills pertaining to emotions and stress.
This is a very useful paper by Sarah-Jane Blakemore that explores the development of the human social brain. She describes evidence that social interaction plays a critical role in early brain development, and then goes on to discuss recent research demonstrating that the social brain undergoes protracted development and that adolescence in particular represents a period of reorganization of the social brain. Finally, she identifies potential implications of this new research for education policy and for human wellbeing. This work is important for understanding the changes that adolescents are undergoing.
This study describes the first year of the yoga program in the Encinitas School District, in California. This program was the subject of a court case in which the school district was sued by a family for government sponsorship of religion. The judge ruled that though yoga has religious roots it was not religious in the way it was being taught in Encinitas. For more information, have a look at this article.
The study involved interviews with yoga instructors, teachers, principals, district leaders and parents, as well as stakeholder surveys, and other indicators. Although there were limitations in the study, the findings relating to well-being, behaviour and other school based outcomes are promising.
Corke 2014 Yoga in public schools in Encinitas
Future in Mind is a Department of Health report, publushed in 2015, on promoting, protecting and improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Though an extensive document at 76 pages it sets out a clear picture of the situation in young people´s mental health in the UK, and makes a series of proposals that have a connection with yoga in the sense that yoga could be a valuable part of the implementation of many of them. This document provides part of the background for our practice as teachers and promoters of yoga as a tool for young people’s wellbeing.