Yoga helps teens develop coping skills


High school students respond to yoga. The positive results are noted in a new study.

“Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health,” said Jessical Noggle, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. A group of high school students were randomly assigned to yoga or regular Physical Education classes. The type of yoga taught was based on Kripalu yoga and consisted of postures with breathing exercises, relaxation and mediation.

Before and after the ten-week program, the students completed a battery of psychosocial tests. They also completed tests assessing the development of self-regulatory skills like resilience, control of anger, and mindfulness. All of these skills are believed to help with mental health preservation.

The yoga group tested much better after the program. The PE group had increased scores for mood problems and anxiety. Negative emotions were higher in the PE group.

Tests for self-regulation were not higher in either group. The kids who took the yoga class seemed to enjoy it, rating it slightly higher. Three-fourths of the group said they would continue in yoga class.

Yoga could be an excellent alternative for adolescent teens. It is an excellent time to develop coping skills for stress and healthy coping strategies as well as resilience and awareness of mental health. Yoga combines strength and flexibility with relaxation and meditative techniques. The study suggests some positive psychological effects of Kripalu yoga. Dr. Noggle is looking to conduct a larger study and track the teens into adulthood. A larger study would clarify the benefits.

Source: ScienceDaily, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics


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