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Muscle Power Dexterity skill and Visual Perception in Community home girls trained in yoga or sports and in regular school girls

P. Raghuraj and Shirley Telles

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation
No.9, Appajappa agrahar, Chamarajpet, Bangalore - 560018, India.

( Received on March 15, 1997 )

Abstract: The present study was conducted to compare critical flicker fusion frequency (CFF), degree of optical illusion ("di"), dexterity scores, and grip strength in three groups of subjects, viz community home girls who had learned yoga for 6 months (CHY), age-matched community home girls who had physical activity training for 6 months (CHP), and girls who were attending a regular school (SCH). There were equal numbers in each group for each of the 4 assessment (range 11 to 30 subjects) and age range was 12 to 16 years. The CHP group had significantly lower CFF and "di" was significantly higher (one factor ANOVA, t test for unpaired data) in the CHP group, both compared to CHY and SCH groups. Right hand grip strength was also significantly less in the CHP group compared to SCH. The results were explained by previous reports of high levels of anxiety and aggression in community-home groups, which is known to influence the four parameters described here. The better performance of the CHY group compared to CHP, suggested that yoga practice has a beneficial effect in these subjects.

Key words: community home; physical activity; yoga; motor strength and skill; visual perception.


Children who are unable to adjust at home, at school or in society are admitted to community homes. Previous studies have established that these children were socially and emotionally traumatized, although physically normal (1). They also reported anxiety and fears and were more aggressive. A report on physiological measures showed that the resting electrical activity in selected facial and back muscles (EMG) was significantly higher in community home boys compared to boys of the same age in an ordinary school (2). This increase was attributed to a high level of stress, as the EMG tone was found to decrease after the subjects underwent a program which included both physical training and relaxation. A subsequent report compared the effects of increased physical activity with those of relaxation with awareness through yoga in community home girls (3). To begin with, community home girls had higher respiratory rates and lower skin resistance values compared to an age matched group of girls who were staying at home and attending a regular school. At the end of six months the community-home yoga group had a greater decrease in heart rate, respiratory rate and an increase in skin resistance, compared to a matched, community-home physical activity group. These changes also suggested that yoga decreased physiological signs of stress.

The present study was conducted to compare the motor and sensory (visual) performance of community home girls who had learnt yoga with that of community- home girls trained in physical activity and of girls staying at home. Four tests were used, viz. (i) hand grip strength as an indicator of muscle power, (ii) degree of optical illusion using Muller-Lyer lines as a measure of accuracy of visual perception, (iii) critical flicker fusion frequency also to assess visual perception, and (iv) tweezer dexterity to assess motor skills. The community-home girls belonged to two categories. Prior to the assessments one category had training in yoga for six months, while the other category had a program of increased physical activity for the same duration. This study also compared both categories of community-home girls with age matched girls from an ordinary school.

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