IMPROVEMENT IN STATIC MOTOR PERFORMANCE FOLLOWING YOGIC TRAINING OF SCHOOL CHILDREN
Shirley Tellles, B. Hanumanthaih, R. Nagarathna, and H. R. Nagendra
Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.
(Accepted March 22. 1993)
Summary - Two groups of 45 children each, whose ages ranged from 9 to 13 years, were assessed on a steadiness test, at the beginning and again at the end of a 10-day period during which one group received training in yoga, while the other group not. The steadiness test required insertion of and holding for 15 see. a metal stylus without touching the sides of holes of decreasing sizes in a metal plate. The contacts were counted as errors during the 10-day period, one group (the 'Yoga' group) received training in special physical postures (asanas), voluntary regulation of breaching (Pranayama), maintenance of silence, as well as visual focussing exercises (tratakas) and games to improve the attention span and memory. The other group (control) carried out their usual routine. After 10 days, the 'yoga' group showed a significant (Wilcoxon's paired signed-ranks test) decrease in errors, whereas the 'Control' group showed no change.
Certain postures such as that of a diver poised on the high board, immobile just before he springs into the air, require considerable muscular coordination even though the person is not actually mobile. The ability to maintain one's hand extended, yet steady is essential for a wide range of tasks.
Yoga is an ancient Indian tradition which through diverse physical and mental practices the practitioner strives to achieve a state of all around health. The practice of yoga has already been shown to be of therapeutic benefit in cases with psychosomatic ailments such as bronchial asthma (Nagarathna & Nagendra, 1985; Nagendra & Nagarathna, 1986). After 9 months of yogic practice, mentally retarded children also showed improvement in general mental ability, psychomotor coordination, and intelligent and social behaviour (Uma, Nagarathna, Nagendra, Vaidehi, & Seethalakshmi, 1989).
The present study was carried out with the aim of assessing whether Yogic training (for 10 days) would change the static motor performance in 45 school children as compared with an equal number of 'control' subjects, who did not practice Yoga but were also assessed after 10 days.
*Request reprints from Dr. Shirley Telles, Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, No. 9, Appajappa Agrahara, Chamarajpet Bangalore-560018, India.