Yoga for Children and Adolescents

We're always looking for more data to add to our index, so if you know of a yoga research study that you don't see here, pass it along to us. Send relevant scholarly articles to Yoga Alliance® supports the continued research on yoga’s benefits, and we will continue to update the page with more research on more health topics. 

Last updated: July 19, 2017

Yoga for Children and Adolescents

Yoga Alliance recommends that any individuals with health concerns consult with a qualified health care practitioner to discuss whether yoga is right for them, but we are aware that yoga can be used in the medical treatment context by appropriately qualified and licensed healthcare practitioners. Yoga Alliance credentials do not serve as qualifications for the diagnosis or treatment of health conditions.

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“Evidence for the effectiveness of three months yoga on EF [executive function] was demonstrated in this study, which may be a useful tool for the young orphans, to be practiced for cognitive health on a daily basis. The sustained effect of Yoga on EF seen in the present study may have potential implications on learning, classroom behavior and in handling the adverse circumstances and stand as a preventive measure for mental health problems.”
–Purohit et al (2017), Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine


“These findings suggest that the implementation of yoga practice in physical education lessons contributed to children's development.”
–Folleto et al (2016), International Journal of Yoga



“This qualitative study of six focus groups across four public schools in New York City found that middle and high school students perceived the benefits to yoga as increased self-regulation, mindfulness, self-esteem, physical conditioning, academic performance, and stress reduction.”
–Wang et al (2016), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



“Among students with higher participation, those assigned to yoga classes had a significantly higher GPA. For example, at 49 classes of participation for both groups, students assigned to yoga classes had an estimated 2.70 higher mean GPA (effect size = 0.31) than students assigned to PE.
‐Hagins et al (2016), Mind, Brain, and Education



“The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of mindfulness training through yoga with school-age girls to reduce perceived stress, enhance coping abilities, self-esteem, and self-regulation, and explore the relationship between the dose of the intervention and outcomes. . . Self-esteem and self-regulation increased in both groups. The intervention group was more likely to report greater appraisal of stress (p < .01) and greater frequency of coping (p < .05).”
– White et al (2014), Journal of Pediatric Health Care



“The yoga module used may help improve proprioceptive function in VI [visually impaired] children.”
– Mohanty et al (2014), British Journal of Visual Impairment



“After the 6-week yoga program, children (n = 7) had a significant decrease in anxiety score (P = .04) while adolescent scores (n = 7) showed a decreasing trend (P = .10). Scores for fatigue, sleep, and balance remained stable post-intervention. Fatigue and balance scores were below norms for health children/adolescents while sleep and anxiety scores were similar to healthy peers.”
– Hooke et al (2015), Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing



“Anecdotal data and clinical observation underscore the promise of yoga as a viable approach to build self-regulatory capacity of traumatized youth.”
– Butzer et al (2015), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



“The results suggest that yoga may have a protective effect on academic performance by preventing declines in GPA. . .”
– Butzer et al (2015), Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine



“This study was conducted to examine the differences in various domains of attention between long-term concentrative meditators versus matched controls. . . Long-term Vihangam Yoga meditation improves attention span, processing speed, attention alternation ability, and performance in interference tests.”
– Prakash et al (1989), Perceptual & Motor Skills



“There was highly significant improvement in the IQ and social adaptation parameters in the yoga group as compared to the control group. This study shows the efficacy of yoga as an effective therapeutic tool in the management of mentally challenged children.”
– Uma et al (1989), Journal of Intellectual Disability Research



“The results suggest that yoga practice, including physical postures, yoga breathing, meditation and guided relaxation improved delayed recall of spatial information.”
– Manjunath et al (2004), Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology



“In conclusion, the present study demonstrates attenuation of the sweating response to step test by yoga training. Further, yoga training for a short period of six weeks can produce significant improvements in respiratory muscle strength and endurance.”
– Madanmohan et al (2008), Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology



“In conclusion, the study presents the efficacy of yoga to improve strength, endurance, whole body endurance and aerobic capacity with 3 months of training in the pediatric group.”
– D’souza et al (2014), Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology



“Findings from this study suggest that pregnant, urban, adolescents are highly stressed; they interpret depression-like symptoms to be signs of stress; they desire group-based, interactive activities; and they are interested in yoga classes for stress/depression management and relationship building.“
– Kinser et al (2015), Women’s Health Issues



“The gross motor development of pre-school children may be enhanced by participation in a 6 week long developmentally appropriate group yoga program. When compared to a control group, the group participating in yoga demonstrating a statistically significant increase in static balance and functional lower extremity strength.“
– Bubela et al (2014), Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy



“This study suggests that practice of yoga for a short duration (3 months) of time can significantly improve respiratory muscle strength in pediatric population.”
– D'Souza et al (2014), International Journal of Yoga



“These preliminary findings suggest that Hatha yoga has the potential to play an important role in pediatric obesity…and support the use of Hatha yoga as a safe and promising intervention for improving aspects of physical and psychosocial functioning in severely obese adolescents.“
– Hainsworth et al (2014), Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy



“Yoga has the potential to help [psychiatrically hospitalized] adolescents in an acute care psychiatric hospital learn to soothe themselves, to regulate their emotions, and to find relief from emotional distress while hospitalized.”
Re et al (2014), Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing



“This 12-week community-based yoga intervention was feasible and provides preliminary evidence for the benefits of yoga on [health-related quality of life], physical fitness and [physical activity levels] in pediatric cancer out-patients.”
– Wurz et al (2014), Pediatric Blood & Cancer



“These results suggest that school-based yoga programs may be appropriate for promoting healthy behaviors at a societal level by focusing on the prevention of negative patterns during the adolescent transition.“
– Conboy et al (2013), Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing



“Group yoga is effective in promoting relaxation in children and adolescents with recurrent headache. Yoga may offer an adjunct to common pharmaceutical options for headache management for children and adolescents.”
– Fury et al (2013), Global Advances in Health and Medicine



“Within these limitations, we may conclude that in-patients with ADHD can be taught a package of yoga along with other medical treatments. The findings encourage RCT of yoga intervention in in-patients with ADHD. There is a suggestion from this study that home yoga practice is also feasible and may benefit ADHD.”
– Hariprasad et al (2013), Indian Journal of Psychiatry



“Positive effects of yoga have been shown in persons with mental-health problems, eating disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. There is considerable evidence that mind-body interventions have mild to moderate effects on physical symptoms, psychological functioning and [quality of life], and may be particularly helpful for children coping with acute pain…chronic abdominal pain…and mental-health problems.”
– Hartmann et al (2012), Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies



“This pilot study suggests that yoga exercises are effective for children aged 8–18 years with [functional abdominal pain], resulting in significant reduction of pain intensity and frequency, especially in children of 8–11 years old. Parents reported a significantly higher [Kidscreen quality of life] score after yoga treatment.”
– Brands et al (2011), Complementary Therapies in Medicine



“The results of this pilot study demonstrate that a six-week peer-mediated multimodal behavioral program that included Yoga and Meditation can lead to measurable benefits in children with ADHD. More than 50% of the children improved their academic and behavioral performance.”
– Mehta et al (2011), ISRN Pediatrics



“We conclude that participation in yoga classes may be both enjoyable and beneficial to children living in stressful conditions…[or] postwar stress situations.”
– Ehud et al (2010), International Journal of Yoga



“The results show that the students who practiced yoga performed better in academics. The study further shows that low-stress students performed better than high-stress students, meaning thereby that stress affects the students' performance.“
– Kauts et al (2009), International Journal of Yoga


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