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tests on children aged 11 to 16 found that
those who attended a 10-day yoga camp
scored 43 per cent higher, whilst the
control group and those attending a fine
arts camp showed no change. In 2006, a
Canadian study evaluated the effects of a
four-week yoga program on teenagers
with stress-related irritable bowel
syndrome that interfered with everyday
activities. The study found that yoga
participants reported less anxiety and
functional disability than those in the
control group. In Germany, a 2006 study
found that yoga training helped reduce
symptoms in children with attention-
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Beyond asana and relaxation:
taking yoga outside the classroom
Lesley Gough is director of 'Just Be' Yoga
& Meditation school in Melbourne, and
was a children's social worker before
training as a yoga teacher. "Yoga is not
just about stretching and breathing, but
about gaining a deeper self-understanding
and treating others with kindness and
compassion," she says. Between asana
practice and the relaxation session, she
reads younger school children a story
woven around an aspect of yogic
philosophy. "I might read them a book
about a boy who has a dilemma about
killing an ant, and how it makes him feel,"
she says. "Or perhaps I'll choose a book
about being bullied or respecting cultural
diversity. I put things in a context they can
relate to, and encourage them to discuss
their point of view."
Dani Reidy uses similar principles
in teaching teenagers. "They are very
outwardly focused and concerned about
what others think," she says. "I tell them
that yoga is a chance to turn their
attention inwards and focus on the
important values of life, like respecting
themselves and others, and listening to
their intuition when something doesn't
feel right. Today's teenagers participate
in some very risky activities. I hope that
if they're more in touch with their
intuition, they'll make better decisions."
Slovacek, SP et al. A study of the Yoga
Ed Program at the Accelerated School.
Program Evaluation and Research
Collaborative, Charter College of
Education, 21 November 2003.
Mandanmohan et al. Effect of yoga
training on handgrip, respiratory
pressures and pulmonary function. Indian
Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology,
Oct 2003, vol. 47 no. 4, pp. 387--92.
Manjunath, NK and Telles, S. Spatial and
verbal memory tests scores following
yoga and fine arts camps for school
children. Indian Journal of Physiology
and Pharmacology, Jul 2004, vol. 48 no.
3, pp. 353--56.
Kuttner, L et al. A randomized trial of yoga
for adolescents with irritable bowel
syndrome. Pain Research & Management,
Winter 2006, vol. 11 no. 4, pp. 217--23.
Haffner, J et al. The effectiveness of body-
oriented methods of therapy in the
treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD): results of a controlled
pilot study. Journal of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy,
Jan 2006, vol. 34 no. 1, pp. 37--47.
Fiona Marsden is a freelance health
& wellbeing writer:
australian yoga life • december-february 2010 9
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