Yoga Shown to Help Students Better Manage Stress and Anxiety

Vol. 17 No. 11

PSN eletter vol17 no11 kidsypga

Surveys show that students and educators are increasingly more stressed. According to researchers, 61% of educators say their work is “always” or “often” stressful, and students deal with constant and evolving pressure to maintain perfect grades, be involved in various activities, and come of age in an online world.

However, new research illustrates that school-based yoga can help combat some of the stress and anxiety that students and educators face today. Tulane University researchers looked at the impact of yoga and other mindfulness activities on students who exhibited signs of anxiety. Students in the group who participated in yoga-based intervention demonstrated “a significant improvement in emotional and psychosocial quality of life,” as opposed to those who used other coping mechanisms and techniques.

Researchers also held two professional development sessions for teachers that promoted the benefits of yoga to help with stress and anxiety management. Teachers reported doing more yoga-based activities in the classroom after the professional development sessions, and many found it helpful in improving the classroom climate.

We recently shared the impact that stress has on teachers and students. This new research helps provide some insight into the benefit that relaxation and quietness can have during a hectic day. If your school is thinking about incorporating more mindfulness activities into your schedule, consider the following.

Create a strategy from the top down. Mindfulness activities are most effective when they have support from the full administrative team. Work with your colleagues to create a plan that is implemented schoolwide.

Provide professional development opportunities for your teachers. According to the Tulane study, the barriers that teachers most frequently cited when introducing yoga into the classroom included, “being too busy with academic requirements, teachers’ lack of self-confidence using the techniques, and student resistance.” Professional development can help teachers better understand the benefits of yoga and feel more confident when leading activities in the classroom.

Consider conducting mindfulness activities schoolwide. It may benefit your school to conduct mindfulness activities in a unified fashion. Consider whether leading activities over the intercom at a certain time each day or specified times during the week makes sense with your schedule, mission, and goals.

Let parents know what you’re doing and why. If parents hear that you’re incorporating yoga into your school day without context for why and its benefits, they may balk at the idea. Being upfront with your plan, how it will fit into your day, and its intended benefits can go a long way in obtaining their buy in.

Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to look at your program and alter what students and teachers aren’t embracing. It can only help improve your overall offerings.

Yoga and other mindfulness activities can go a long way in helping students and teachers combat stress and anxiety. Consider whether it makes sense to implement these types of activities at your school.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Private School News Vol. 17 No. 2 Stress Is Contagious: Don’t Let It Spread in Your School
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 15 No. 10 How Teachers’ Stress Impacts Student Outcomes

Additional ISM resources for Gold members:
I&P Vol. 42 No. 5 Marketing Communications and the Parent
I&P Vol. 41 No. 11 The Rhetoric of Rigor II: Stress, Schedules, and Fun

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