Effect of yoga on cognitive functions and anxiety among female school children with low academic performance: A randomized control trial

Author: Niranjan Parajuli1, Balaram Pradhan2, Saee Bapat2
1 Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research (CIMR), AIIMS, New Delhi, India. Electronic address: ranjan.happy1@gmail.com.
2 Division of Yoga and Humanities, SVYASA, Bangalore, India.
Conference/Journal: Complement Ther Clin Pract
Date published: 2022 Jun 5
Other: Volume ID: 48 , Pages: 101614 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2022.101614. , Word Count: 264

To achieve better academic performance, students should improve their cognitive faculties and overcome anxiety. Therefore, the present research was conducted to assess the effect of yoga on the cognitive functions of female adolescents with low academic performance.

The present study is a randomized control trial (RCT). Eighty-nine female students in the age range of 12-14 years were randomly assigned into two groups [yoga (n = 45); physical exercise (n = 44)] at a school setting. Both groups were assessed before and after on Raven's standard progressive matrices (RSPM), Corsi Block Tapping Test (CBTT), Six Letter Cancellation Test (SLCT), Digit Letter Substitution Test (DLST), Stroop Color and Word Test (SCWT), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC).

Findings of the present study showed significant (p < .05) differences in scores of forward CBTT, SWCT, and SLCT in group × time interaction. Both the groups showed significant (p < .05) improvement in SLCT, backward scores of CBTT, and STAIC-T. All outcomes measured were significantly (p < .05) improved in the yoga group except STAIC-S.

Yoga improves general intelligence, visuospatial working memory, and attention, as well as reduces the anxiety of students with low academic performance. Similarly, physical exercise was also found to be improving visuospatial working memory, sustained attention, and reduce trait anxiety. However, the finding of the present study indicated yoga to be more effective compared to physical exercise in regards to students' fluid intelligence and executive function. Improvement in general intelligence, visuospatial working memory, and attention is expected to positively influence students' academic performance.

Keywords: Anxiety; Attention; General intelligence; Physical exercise; Visuospatial memory; Yoga.

PMID: 35688056 DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2022.101614