Academic performance can be greatly hindered by stress, worry and anxiety. Good news, yoga can help. The mind and body connection of yoga not only offers emotional benefits, such as reducing depression, but it also helps you get better grades in school. Previous studies showed even a small or moderate amount of stress negatively affects memory and ability to perform daily tasks. New evidence shows stress reduction from doing yoga results in better academic performance, according to a study from MGN College of Education published in the International Journal of Yoga.
Stress and Yoga Study Participants
Eight hundred 14 to 15-year old boys and girls from India, a country where families place enormous pressure on students to obtain the highest levels of academic performance, participated in the study. Researchers tested the student’s base levels of academic and achievement stress to classify them into high stress and low-stress groups. The researchers further divided the two groups into two groups, so there were four groups in total: 1) a high-stress experimental group; 2) a high-stress control group; 3) a low-stress experimental group; 4) a low-stress control group. To access the student’s base level of academic performance, researchers administered a pre-test in Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Stress and Yoga – the Yoga Class
The students participated in a seven-week yoga program by going to class every morning for one hour. Each yoga class had four components: 1) yoga poses, 2) yoga breathing exercises, 3) meditation; 4) prayer. The study did not say if the prayer was chanting, a fact I am curious to know. After the seven-week yoga program, researchers gave the students another test to gather post-treatment scores.
Stress and Yoga Study Results
The stress and study results show that the student is in the yoga groups significantly outperformed the non-yoga control groups. The average post-treatment academic performance scores of high-stress students were about 12 points higher than the non-yoga, high-stress group. The average post-treatment academic performance scores of low-stress students in the yoga group were about 8 points than the non-yoga, low-stress group.
Tips to Reduce Stress and Boost Academic Performance
- Practice 10-60 minutes of daily yoga
- Incorporate back bending poses to calm the heart
- Learn pranayama yoga breathing exercises to calm and center the mind
- Take a long Shavasana relaxation at the end of each practice
- Practice yogic meditation techniques to calm the mind and boost mental concentration
- Use positive affirmations or prayers to visualize your academic goals
- Get a full 8 hours sleep