Young Children’s Embodied Experiences: A Classroom-Based Yoga Intervention
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Over the years, mindfulness and yoga-based interventions have been widely implemented in schools and demonstrated promising results. Despite the benefits, there is limited literature on the effects that yoga may have for young children. Furthermore, extant research on yoga and young children has primarily used quantitative methodologies. The objective of this study was to investigate pre-kindergarteners’ and kindergartners’ experiences with yoga through a qualitative-exploratory approach.
This qualitative-exploratory study used interview methods and the application of grounded theory to learn about children’s perceptions (n = 154) of participating in a randomized waitlist-controlled trial an eight-week yoga intervention that targeted self-regulation and emotion regulation. The post-intervention child interview findings are reported here.
Two themes, grounded in the dataset and most relevant to the topic of children’s experiences in practicing the yoga, emerged in the analysis: (1) children’s positive emotions about the yoga; and (2) children’s knowledge of yoga and self-regulation skills. Children were often eager to share their feelings and knowledge about the yoga and demonstrated their embodied expertise regarding their own emotions and bodies and thus ability to serve as active participants in the research process.
This qualitative-exploratory study contributes to the research on the physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits of yoga for young children. Future researchers may work towards understanding how yoga promotes children’s development at a young age and conduct follow-up investigations into the embodied experiences and benefits of yoga practices with children.
KeywordsYoga Children Qualitative Emotion Self-regulation
Thank you to the teachers, school staff, students, yoga studio, and research assistants for their commitment to this study. Thank you to The Mind & Life Institute (via the Contemplative Education Grant, Grant ID Number: A-13146632) for their financial support of this line of inquiry.
R.N.R. designed and executed the study, assisted with data analyses, and wrote the paper. M.W. assisted with data analyses and in the editing of the final manuscript. C.J.H. assisted with data analyses and in the editing of the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
In accordance with Springer’s policy and our ethical obligations as researchers, we are reporting that we do not have a financial and/or business interests in a company that may be affected by the research reported in the enclosed paper. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the Mind & Life Institute.
The protocols used in this research study were approved by the ethics committee at the University of California, Davis in Davis, California.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.
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