Medicine, Mind and Adolescence, 1993 - 1994 - VIII, 2 - IX,1

Positive influences of yoga exercises for the adolescents

Milada Krejci

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Stress has become an inevitable companion in all occupations for everyone today. Yoga is claimed to endow perfect physical mental and social well being of an individual even under stressful conditions. A series of research investigations conducted by this laboratory revealed many beneficial effects which would help in the stress management.

Yoga helps the individual through its techniques of meditation to develop an attitude to live a life of lasting happiness and self enjoyment. The paper highlights certain yog asanas (body exercises, postures), pranayam (breath exercises) and relaxation techniques found effective in management of stress - table 3.

The use of yoga techniques by children, pubescent and adolescents represent a modern endeavour to expand traditional system into new spheres (4) (Krejci M. 1992) (5) (Krejci M. 1993). Except for preventive aims - body building, correct breathing, flexibility, increase of the organism resistance - the most important thing is just the relaxation effect and in the first place management of stress and anxiety. The sample of the present study consisted of 25 male and 35 female adolescents - students 17-18 years old, beginners in yoga exercises. The subjects participated voluntarily in a specially arranged program. The aim of the present experiment was to catch the dynamics of changes of specific selected factors (i.e., states of anxiety and neuroticism, attitudes of students to their own lives, human values, social sensibility, social position in the group) in a period of six months. This specially arranged program (six months every morning) has ground in RAJA YOGA, which presents balanced combination of the physiological yoga of vitality with the psychic yoga of meditation.

The tests (EPI, STAI, Sociometric Ratting test, Attitude Questionnaire) were administered to the subjects individually before and after the yoga program.

Six months of yogic practice resulted in a significant improvement in the reduction of State of Anxiety in adolescents. The results of the EPI tests indicate that students managed better to lose psychical tension, which is important from the mental hygiene point of view. The results of attitudes of students showed that the feeling of well being is best after the practice of Pranayama (breathing exercises). The practice of Pranayama is followed by the practice of concentration and concentration merges into meditation. The meditation was for some students in our experiment very difficult.

Yoga exercises could have a practical use by adolescents at schools and as well-being activity in their free time. Our results indicate the value of yoga in promoting positive physical and mental health (self confidence, self reliance, good qualities), thereby conferring an increased tolerance towards the stress and strains of life.

M. Krejci: "Positive Influences of Yoga Exercises for the Adolescents”. Paper presented at the First International Congress of Adolescentology, Assisi, Italy, October 22-24, 1993.

Key Words: Adolescence, Yoga, Stress, Anxiety, Mental Health

M. Krejci: Department of Physical Education, Pedagogical Faculty, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic

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