In 2003, The Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (PERC) at Cal State University’s Charter College of Education published research conducted on Yoga Ed. programming at The Accelerated School in South Central Los Angeles. Conducted to assess the relationship between yoga instruction in an inner-city school to several student outcomes, the study sought to determine whether or not Yoga Ed. programming was effective in improving measures of academic performance, discipline, attendance, and students’ attitudes about themselves, yoga and school. The study, which included 405 students and 18 teachers and yoga instructors, demonstrated Yoga Ed.’s efficacy in supporting student wellness and performance.
Participation in Yoga Ed. classes improved self-esteem, or students’ improve their attitudes toward themselves. After one year of participation, student agreement with self-esteem questions was significantly greater, with a 20% increase in students feeling good about themselves. This was statistically significant (t=.779, n=305, p<.001).
Participation in Yoga Ed. classes helped improve students’ behavior. Findings showed a significant negative correlations between student yoga participation and bad behavior as measured by school discipline referrals for elementary students (r = -.463, p<.01) and for middle school students (r = -.367, p<.01). In other words, students who had high participation rates in yoga class had fewer referrals or discipline problems.
Participation in Yoga Ed. classes helped improve students’ physical health. TAS students are significantly more physically fit (23.4% more 5th graders on average were rated fit and 28.5% more 7th graders were rated physically fit) when compared to the school district mean levels of fitness. This is particularly significant given the major role yoga plays in physical education at the school.
Participation in Yoga Ed. classes helped students perform better in school academically. Grades (GPA’s) were correlated with yoga participation (r = .399, p<.01). The correlation is particularly significant in that it suggest students tend to benefit academically by diligently practicing yoga.