Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Yoga on Academic Performance in Relation to Stress

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Yoga on Academic Performance in Relation to Stress

Article excerpt

Byline: Amit. Kauts, Neelam. Sharma

Background: Academic performance is concerned with the quantity and quality of learning attained in a subject or group of subjects after a long period of instruction. Excessive stress hampers students' performance. Improvement in academic performance and alertness has been reported in several yogic studies. Aims and Objectives: The main objective of the study was to assess the effect of yoga on academic performance in relation to stress. Materials and Methods: The study started with 800 adolescent students; 159 high-stress students and 142 low-stress students were selected on the basis of scores obtained through Stress Battery. Experimental group and control group were given pre test in three subjects, i.e., Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. A yoga module consisting of yoga asanas, pranayama, meditation, and a value orientation program was administered on experimental group for 7 weeks. The experimental and control groups were post-tested for their performance on the three subjects mentioned above. Results: 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.

Introduction

Academic achievement is an attained ability or degree of competence in school task, usually measured by standardized tests and expressed in grades or units based on norms derived from a vide sampling of pupils' performance.[sup] [1] Studies reveal that even low or moderate levels of stress can interfere with task performance.[sup] [2],[3] Cognitive reactions of stress result in the inability to concentrate.[sup] [4]

Yoga, which is a way of life, is characterized by balance, health, harmony, and bliss.[sup] [5] Meditation, being part of yoga, which is the seventh limb of Ashtanga Yoga[sup] [6] -a state of alert rest as stated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,[sup] [7] who founded a new technique of meditation, popularly known as transcendental meditation. By practicing yoga, a person is supposed to reach a state of mental equanimity, where responses to favorable or unfavorable external events are well under the individual's control, and responses are moderate in intensity.[sup] [8] The science of yoga is a powerful stream of knowledge, which enables the practitioners to achieve radiant physical health, serene mind, continues spiritual uplift, and creates the ability for harmonious social living.[sup] [9]

Hatha yoga practices, like asanas (i.e., postures), pranayama (i.e., breathing practice intended to influence vital forces), kriyas (cleaning processes), mudras (i.e., certain interval attitudes), and bandhans (i.e., neuromuscular locks) are mostly taught as physical practices. While various meditational techniques work at the mental level, all these practices are intended to develop a certain type of awareness within oneself, which in turn brings about a change in emotional and visceral functions, and through them, a change in intellectual and somatic functions of the individual takes place.[sup] [10]

Six months of yogic practices (meditation, asanas, and pranayama) brings a feeling of well-being, a reduction in body weight, increased vital capacity, acceleration in endocrinal functions, and improvement in memory.[sup] [11] Three months practice of Savasana has demonstrated an improvement in 86 patients, who had problem of headache, insomnia, and nervousness.[sup] [12] Udupa et al .[sup] [13] revealed that yoga has the potential to influence the stress disorder and it helps the sufferer to achieve physical and metabolic stability. Sahasi et al .[sup] [14] has demonstrated the effectiveness of yogic techniques in the management of anxiety and reported increased attention/concentration.

Yoga through its techniques of meditation, asanas, and pranayama yields a positive effect in the management of stress in adolescents. …

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