Running head: LITERATURE REVIEW 1
LITERATURE REVIEW 7
Literature Review: Yoga and Mental and Emotional Affect on High School Students
Yoga is a holistic mind-body system that was designed as a practice to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional, while at the same time, unite states of consciousness (Butzer, van Over, Noggle & Khalsa, 2015). Yoga’s ultimate goal is to unify “the self at physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and social levels” (Conboy, Noggle, Frey, Kudesia & Khalsa, 2013, p. 1). Numerous benefits have been proven for adults who practice yoga. However, there is little information on the benefits of practicing yoga for young adults. With such a holistic and seemingly advanced practice, yoga may be perceived as an intimidating activity for high school students. In 2007, only 2.1% of children under the age of 18 have practiced yoga (Conboy et al, 2013). Seeing as the design and purpose for practicing yoga is so elaborate and beneficial, it is questionable as to why yoga is seemingly avoided in the teachings of physical educators. Though not pursuing a career in physical education, I believe, with the information we have on the positive effect of yoga in adults, introducing it to children and adolescents would have a positive effect on their mental and emotional health.
My rationale for choosing this topic is on a personal level. When I was an athlete in high school, I had a lack of insight on sport psychology and the mental aspect of any sport or activity, and with that, developed a distant, uneducated opinion about yoga. I presumed yoga to be a waste of time because it was not an activity I found to be physically challenging. Following graduation and enrolled as a college student, I was introduced to and became educated about yoga. From that, I formulated a new opinion through the physical practice, and experienced the physical, mental, and emotional benefits first-hand, and thus, confidently say this topic requires more research and focus for young adults. In this paper, I will discuss what current literature notes regarding high school students practicing yoga, and what place yoga will hopefully have for high school students in the future. My research question is “Does practicing yoga improve mental and emotional health and regulation for high school students?” with specific focus on academics, emotion regulation, feasibility and perceived benefits.
Review of Literature
Traditionally, yoga has four primary components consisting of “physical postures/exercises to promote strength and flexibility, breathing exercises to enhance respiratory functioning, deep relaxation techniques to cultivate the ability to physically and mentally release tension, and meditation/mindfulness practices to enhance mind-body awareness and improve attention and emotion and stress regulation skills” (Butzer et al, 2015, p. 1). These components make up the core to most studies related to the practice of yoga. It is...