A recent study published inMind, Brain, and Education looks at the impact of a yoga programme on the academic performance of secondary school students.
At a New York City public high school, 112 students were randomly
assigned to one of four yoga or six PE classes. The students were in
Grades 9-11 (age 14-17); 59% were Hispanic and 22% Black, 11% Asian,
and 8% White. Both PE and yoga classes met twice a week for 45 minutes
throughout the academic year. The yoga curriculum used mindfulness and
yoga-based exercises to help students focus on their work and respond
appropriately to challenging situations. The PE class included weight
lifting, fitness exercises, and common games, varied by the class
Student achievement was measured using their grade point average
(GPA) from the previous and current academic years. Students and staff
also completed a number of psychosocial measures, including the Response
to Stress Questionnaire and the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness
The study found no difference in GPA between
students assigned to the yoga classes and those assigned to the PE
classes. Students who were assigned to the yoga classes were associated
with lower scores on the psychosocial scales, although this was not
significant. There was a higher level of participation by students in PE classes than yoga classes. However, researchers found that students who had high levels of participation in yoga classes had significantly better GPA than those who had high levels of participation in PE classes.
Source: Yoga Improves Academic Performance in Urban High School Students Compared to Physical Education: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Mind, Brain, and Education (2016).