Scoping review of yoga in schools: Mental health and cognitive outcomes in both neurotypical and neurodiverse youth populations

Niamh Hart, Samantha Fawkner*, Ailsa Niven, Josie N. Booth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Yoga is used widely as a therapeutic tool for physical and mental well-being. The mindbodyactivity could be an inclusive and cost-effective intervention used within schools to help tacklethe mental health crisis in youth populations. To date, research has focused on mainly neurotypicalyouth populations. However, greater acknowledgement of the impact for neurodiverse youthpopulations is warranted. Therefore, the aim of this scoping review is to understand what is knownabout the relationships between yoga in schools and mental health and cognition in neurotypical andneurodiverse youth populations. Methods: This review followed O’Malley and Arskey’s methodologicalframework. A comprehensive database search using fundamental keywords and index termswas conducted. Screening was carried out in CovidenceTM software. Results: Substantial evidenceto support the use of school-based yoga programmes for the improvement of anxiety, self-concept,resilience, depression, self-esteem, subjective and psychological well-being, executive function, inhibition,working memory, attention and academic performance in neurotypical populations was found.Evidence to support school-based yoga programmes in neurodiverse populations with improvementsin self-concept, subjective well-being, executive function, academic performance and attention wasalso found. Conclusions: The findings support the provision of yoga in schools to improve mentalhealth and cognition whilst also creating clear pathways for future research and school-based yogaintervention development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number849
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalChildren
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • yoga
  • schools
  • physical activity
  • mental health
  • cognition

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