Researchers have found that kids with autism spectrum disorder who did yoga at their elementary school behaved better than kids with autism who weren’t doing yoga.
The researchers surveyed teachers at a school in the Bronx who said a daily yoga program reduced the kids’ aggressive behavior, social withdrawal and hyperactivity.
Kristie Patten Koenig, an assistant professor of occupational therapy at New York University who led the study, says that yoga was effective because it seems to play to the strengths of kids with autism, while also reducing stress.
“We know that anxiety fuels a lot of the negative behavior, so the yoga program gives them a strategy to cope with it,” Koenig tells Shots. “And if it’s done every morning, it becomes an integral part of the day that sets the status of the classroom and allows the kids to become calm, focused and ready to learn.”