THE EFFECT OF YOGA POSTURES ON BALANCE, COORDINATION AND FLEXIBILITY IN TYPICALLY DEVELOPING CHILDREN.
B. Donahoe-Fillmore, M. Holdash, C. Moore, J. Robertson, Andrews University, Dayton, OH.
PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: Yoga is being integrated into pediatric physical therapy programs but currently no research is available on the effects of yoga. The purpose of this study was to document the effect of yoga postures on flexibility, balance and coordination in typically developing children.
NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: Ten typically developing children ages 5–8 years were selected from a local after school program to participate in this study. These children had no known motor delays or orthopedic, neurological or metabolic disorders. Informed consent was obtained from the parents of all participants.
MATERIALS/METHODS: The children were randomly divided into two groups, which were similar in age. One group was to participate in a 60-minute yoga session once a week for twelve weeks while the other group continued with their typical schedule. Measurements were collected on the balance, coordination and flexibility of each child before and after the twelve-week program. Pre and post-study measurements for each child were compared in all areas. The mean value and percent change in value for the experimental and control groups were calculated.
RESULTS: The results showed that the yoga group improved in three of the six measurement areas with improvements ranging from 1.2% in the sit and reach test to 14.3% in coordination. The control group improved in four of the six measurement areas with improvements ranging from 10.5% in the sit and reach test to 26.5% in coordination. CONCLUSIONS: Although this study did not provide evidence for the use of yoga with typically developing children, it did demonstrate several limitations we had not anticipated. The limitations were discussed in detail as well as design recommendations for future studies in this area.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The identified limitations and problem areas could help other researchers in developing future studies to assess the effectiveness of yoga postures in children.