During my tenure as Program Director of Yoga Ed. at The Accelerated School (TAS) in Los Angeles, I wrote and implemented a professional development training called: Tools for Teachers. Based on our initial success at TAS and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Intern Program , we received a 3-year PEP Grant to train other classroom and PE teachers in using yoga tools in their classrooms with kids.
I am very excited to finally be sharing the results of this research study. Highlights are below and the entire assessment, written by Dr. David Chen of Cal State Fullerton with assistance from Linda Pauwels, can be found here: Benefits of Incorporating Yoga into Classroom Teaching: Assessment of the Effects of “Yoga Tools for Teachers” by David Chen & Linda Pauwels
With rising health issues among children and adolescents such as obesity and diabetes, getting physically active is ever more important. Yoga as an ancient system of exercise has a great potential to teach children to be mindful and improve their total well-being. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived benefits of incorporating yoga-based activities into classroom teaching as a result of implementing the Yoga Ed. Tools for Teachers program.
One hundred and three physical education and classroom teachers were trained by certified Yoga Ed instructors for two days. They implemented the yoga-based activities 5-15 minutes daily for a year. At the completion of this period, questionnaires from 550 parents and 661 students were submitted and analyzed. Triangulation of data provided solid evidence suggesting that yoga-based activities produced perceived benefits in:
- mental well-being
- social well-being
- physical well-being
- daily behaviors
The results from this study indicate that simple yoga practices improved emotional health by improving self-confidence, joy, and self-esteem. These emotional indicators suggest that students who practice yoga often feel less stress and more resilient. This finding also confirms previous studies suggesting the benefits of yoga in reducing anxiety and enhancing positive affect (e.g., Gloeckner & Stück, 2005; Platania-Solazzo et al., 1992). Considering the stress children and adolescents are faced with at school on a daily basis (Kottler & Chen, 2011), yoga can serve as an effective remedy for reducing negative affect and distress.
The current study also suggests that yoga practices contribute to improved physical well-being and can offer early preventative measures for growing health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Data from three sources support the claim that yoga practice facilitated knowledge of human body, eating awareness, and body posture.
The meaning of the study is wide spread for three main reasons:
1) Teachers with minimum training in yoga can produce large, positive effects on students.
2) Students who get support from parents can produce positive changes in their lives.
3) It is important to have a structure and activities in which students are exposed to and can practice a healthy way of living.