We recognize that the only way to know if we are achieving our goals of sustainably improving the health and wellness of children, teens, and adults is to measure it. That’s where the evidence comes in. Yoga Ed. programs have ESSA Tier 1 Strong Evidence to support its use in schools. Studies conducted by Harvard, Tulane, and California State University of Fullerton have found that Yoga Ed. programs can improve physical, mental, emotional, and social health for all ages.
Yoga Ed. programs can improve symptoms of anxiety.
A 2018 study conducted by Tulane University assessed the impact of a brief intervention on third-grade students who screened positive for symptoms of anxiety in this randomized controlled trial. The intervention was associated with a significant improvement in emotional and psychosocial quality of life in the intervention group when compared to the control group, suggesting that yoga/mindfulness interventions may improve symptoms of anxiety among students.
Yoga Ed. programs can improve focus and attention.
A 2014 study conducted by the California State University of Fullerton examined the perceived benefits of incorporating chair yoga activities into classroom teaching. Triangulation of the data provided solid evidence suggesting that yoga-based activities produced perceived benefits in such areas as attention, concentration, joy, self-esteem, self-confidence, physical well-being, and daily behaviors.
Yoga Ed. programs can play a protective role in maintaining mental health.
In 2012, a Harvard study conducted by Sat Bir Khalsa evaluated the potential mental health benefits of Yoga Ed. programs for adolescents in secondary school. Students completed baseline and end-program self-report measures of mood, anxiety, perceived stress, resilience, and other mental health variables. Most outcome measures exhibited a pattern of worsening in the control group over time. Changes in the yoga group over time were either minimal or showed slight improvements, suggesting that implementation of yoga has the potential of playing a protective or preventive role in maintaining mental health.
Yoga Ed. programs can improve physical fitness and academic performance.
The Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (PERC) at Cal State University’s Charter College of Education published research conducted a 2003 study on Yoga Ed. programming at The Accelerated School (TAS) in South Central Los Angeles. The study found that 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. The study demonstrated Yoga Ed.’s efficacy in supporting overall student wellness and performance through other measures including self-esteem, student behavior, and academic performance.
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