Students who Practiced Yoga Performed Better in Academics, Study Finds

In a study conducted by the international Journal of Yoga, it was determined that academic performance was improved in students who regularly practiced yoga, as opposed to those who did not. For the purposes of the study, academic performance was defined as the ability to perform tasks and demonstrate competence in typical academic testing situations, as measured by standard grading techniques.

The premise of the study was that since yoga is known to be a meditative study, promoting inner peace and awareness, and which helps the practitioner achieve a significantly lower state of stress, that it should be a beneficial agent in helping students achieve greater academic proficiency.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to measure the effects on young persons who practice yoga with regard to their academic performance, while also gauging performance of a control group not involved with yoga. Concurrent with measuring academic performance, stress levels were monitored for students of both groups to determine levels of stress associated with yoga students and non-yoga students, and what the effects of stress would be on academic performance.

Process of the study

The approach taken for the study was to use 159 high-stress students and 142 low-stress students, as identified through scores returned by the Bisht Battery of Stress Scale. Both the control group and the experimental group were tested in Math, Science, and Social Studies prior to the beginning of the experiment, so that baseline scores could be obtained for academic performance prior to the yoga intervention.

The experimental group was then instructed for seven consecutive weeks in some of the various disciplines of yoga, while the control group received no yoga instruction at all. After the seven weeks, both groups were again tested in the same three subject areas, using tests comprised of different questions, but within the same general subject area.

Results of the study

The results showed that students who had gone through the seven-week training program of yoga performed significantly better than those who were not instructed in yoga. The study also demonstrated clearly that low-stress students performed much better on the three-subject testing than did the high-stress students. These results are in support of several prior studies which were conducted to gauge the relationship between stress and academic performance, and between yoga and academic performance. This particular study sought to combine the two relationships, in order to determine if yoga would lead to lower stress levels in students and to subsequent improved academic performance.

Study conclusions

The double conclusion from this study is that yoga encourages low stress among youngsters, and that low stress individuals are better equipped to perform well academically.