To test feasibility of yoga within a high school curriculum and evaluate preventive efficacy for psychosocial well-being.
Grade 11 or 12 students (N = 51) who registered for physical education (PE) were cluster-randomized by class 2:1 yoga:PE-as-usual. A Kripalu-based yoga program of physical postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation was taught 2 to 3 times a week for 10 weeks. Self-report questionnaires were administered to students 1 week before and after. Primary outcome measures of psychosocial well-being were Profile of Mood States-Short Form and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children. Additional measures of psychosocial well-being included Perceived Stress Scale and Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes. Secondary measures of self-regulatory skills included Resilience Scale, State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2™, and Child Acceptance Mindfulness Measure. To assess feasibility, yoga students completed a program evaluation. Analyses of covariance were conducted between groups with baseline as the covariate.
Although PE-as-usual students showed decreases in primary outcomes, yoga students maintained or improved. Total mood disturbance improved in yoga students and worsened in controls (p = .015), as did Profile of Mood States-Short Form (POMS-SF) Tension-Anxiety subscale (p = .002). Although positive affect remained unchanged in both, negative affect significantly worsened in controls while improving in yoga students (p = .006). Secondary outcomes were not significant. Students rated yoga fairly high, despite moderate attendance.
Implementation was feasible and students generally found it beneficial. Although not causal due to small, uneven sample size, this preliminary study suggests preventive benefits in psychosocial well-being from Kripalu yoga during high school PE. These results are consistent with previously published studies of yoga in school settings.