Favorite Research Article

June 6, 2011 No Comments » Blog


Picking up on our last post: Have you come across any good research articles that address yoga and the effects on children? 

We’d like to increase our bibliography of articles that pertain to the benefits of yoga and how yoga affects children.  We know there is a lot of interest to the fact that yoga has positive impacts. But we know just anecdotal evidence is not enough for many people. Empirical, data-driven evidence is really helpful, especially when talking with those that are skeptical. 

There are a lot of sub-sets of topics when discussing yoga for children as well.  The topic range is broad and can include; yoga for the special needs child, yoga for improving self-esteem and social interactions, yoga to boost brain power, yoga to reduce stress, yoga for flexibility, yoga to increase confidence and yoga for physical activity and countering obesity.

What are your favorite topics?  Have you found any good research on your topic of interest? 

Please share. We’d love to hear from you.

Evidence-Based Research on the Benefits of Yoga for Kids

We all know that yoga is a great practice to reduce stress, increase flexibility and calm the mind. Yoga, especially when done consistently, can be life-changing in dealing with many ailments or disorders including hyper-activity, anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.   

How do we know this?

Because we evaluate how we feel before and after we practice. Before yoga, we might feel crappy and irritable. After yoga, we feel free, lightened and in a much better mood. Why? Well there’s a lot of scientific stuff that goes on inside of us as a result of the practice of yoga. The specific reasons are numerous. What is undeniable is that it works. This is evidence. For most of us that’s good enough reasoning to keep doing it. 

What if we want to share yoga with others?  Well we invite them to a class and have them experience the results and establish their own conclusions. What if we want to share with our own children? We do the same thing: We modify the poses and encourage them to try.

What if we want to share yoga with other people’s children?

This is where it gets a bit more complicated. As teachers, instructors, or therapists we have a desire to share a technology that we know can have exceptional benefits with no side effects. Yet for many, yoga is new, unknown or worse—it is judged, belittled and misunderstood.

Yoga in schools, and other institutions, must compete for diminishing resources of both time and money.   We know the benefits, but how do we make the case? Well-prepared instructors anticipate the objections and preserve to change hearts and minds. We do this with evidence. We based our practice on evidence that we and others have collected.

Tapping into the tremendous amount of research available on the topic of yoga and kids, provides the instructor with information in which to counter erroneous arguments and turn skeptics around at least to the point of a willingness to try. Skeptics and antagonists follow the Western model of argument. They need data, research, evidence, objective conclusions and established empirical results. Research can assuage many concerns.

To that end, we’ve complied a bibliography of research articles relating to the topic of yoga for kids. We’ve divided the topic into the following categories:

Reducing Stress for Children through Yoga

Yoga & Children with Special Needs

Yoga & Pediatric Health

Yoga Programs for Children & Miscellaneous Yoga Info

Yoga Wellness & Relaxation for Children

The articles are annotated with brief summaries for your benefit. When available we’ve included appropriate links. Our basic criterion is to include articles which contribute to the field with original research. General articles, just extoling the virtues and benefits of yoga are not included.

We hope this will be a resource for anyone with an interest on the topic of yoga and the benefits for children. This is an organic resource that we hope will grow with your help. Please let us know of any other articles, books or studies. We will gladly add them to the list.