Yoga practice may have even more benefits than we realize. While yoga has been credited with all kinds of things, including improved flexibility, weight loss, and even relief from hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, new research suggests that it may also help more children from all around the world stay in school. According to a Forbes article, “the national dropout rate is between 25% and 35%, and up to 50% in inner city schools.” Researchers believe that regularly practicing yoga would combat youngsters’ stress and depression — the leading causes of school dropouts.
Can Yoga Improve Cognition?
“This is not some feel good, foo-foo practice from the Himalayas,” PhD BK Bose explains of the initiative. “This is based in cutting edge neuroscience, trauma research, and in somatic psychology.” In other words, overwhelming evidence says that yes, mindfulness, relaxation, and mitigating stress can make us happier, healthier, and smarter. Local yoga classes and yoga studios can do a great deal to teach the mindfulness Bose alludes to. Charities and influential people all over the U.S. are doing what they can to increase funding for youth yoga practice and, when possible, bring it into the classroom. Chelsea A. Jackson, a teacher in Atlanta, Georgia who currently encourages her students to learn yoga, believes that the regular practice results in “fewer fights and arguments among students,” “better student decision-making,” and “improved concentration and retention,” according to Tolerance.org.
Is It Safe?
Of course, taking part in yoga and yoga classes often entails stretching the body to its limits and some would say even contorting it into bendy, not altogether natural positions. This raises the question, is it safe for young children? The answer is generally yes. Both the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation sanction yoga practice for children of all ages. Of course, children should gradually learn, starting at an appropriate level (usually a beginner’s class). Styles of hot yoga (Bikram) should typically be an adult-only practice.
Can regular yoga sessions keep kids in school? Many experts seem to think so — and with good reason. Yoga improves mindfulness, promotes rational decision making, and may even curtail aggression and violent behavior.