Social Benefits of Yoga for Children
Kundalini yoga was at the center of a study conducted by the University of Nottingham recently, and the study sought to determine the effect that the regular practice of yoga would have on communities of children which have traditionally been divided. By ‘divided’, it is meant that the focus children were under the care of staff members in collective homes, and not living in traditional family units. Results of the study were published in the Journal of Children’s Services, and demonstrated clearly that those children who regularly practiced Kundalini yoga, along with staff member involvement, acquired individual benefits as well as social benefits.
The reason the children’s collective homes were chosen as the study group is because the Department of Education has found that children in this setting have greater physical and emotional needs than do their counterparts who are established in traditional family settings. Any benefits derived from kids’ yoga classes therefore, would probably be more apparent in this group of children.
Premise of the study
The idea being tested in the study was that a shared collective experience between staff members and children could provide mutual benefits, and make the children stronger physically and emotionally. If such benefits were to be obtained by study participants, it would thereby contribute significantly to the overall well-being of the children in the study, and would be a practice that should be encouraged for that reason.
How the study was conducted
For a period of 20 weeks, children in three separate collective homes participated in a Kundalini yoga program, and at the end of that period, the success of the program was evaluated by three specific measurements. First of all, recruitment and retention numbers were considered, because it was thought to be important that those enrolled would be interested enough to stick with the program to completion. At the end of the 20-week period, surveys were filled out by the participants regarding their experience, and to supplement that input, direct interviews were conducted with each of the children involved.
Findings of the study
Since participation was not made mandatory, the best results were obtained where enrollment in the program was at its highest. Results showed that regular practice of mindfulness training and meditation training encouraged togetherness and mutual caring, and improved mental and physical health in the period directly following the 20-week study.
From the questionnaires and interviews, it was determined that all participants considered the program meaningful to them personally, and most respondents indicated that they were more relaxed, more open, and had a more positive attitude for the duration of the program. Many of the participants also felt that their social lives had been impacted positively, and that they found it easier to interact with others as a result.
Observations of the staff members in these collective homes confirmed the responses provided by study participants, i.e. better physical and emotional health, and more positive social interaction. These findings make it apparent that teaching kids yoga can have a very significant impact on their overall well-being.