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Effects of a classroom-based yoga intervention on cortisol and behavior in second- and third-grade students: A pilot study

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  • Bethany Butzer
  • Danielle Day
  • Adam Potts
  • Sarah Coulombe
  • Connor Ryan
  • Brandie Davies
  • Kimberly Weidknecht
  • Marina Ebert
  • Lisa Flynn
  • Sat Bir Khalsa
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/01/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)41-49
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/11/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This uncontrolled pilot study examined the effects of a classroom-based yoga intervention on cortisol concentrations and perceived behavior in children. A 10-week Yoga 4 Classrooms intervention was implemented in one second-grade and one third-grade classroom. Students’ salivary cortisol responses were assessed at 3 time points. Classroom teachers also documented their perceptions of the effects of the intervention on students’ cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Second, but not third, graders showed a significant decrease in baseline cortisol from before to after the intervention. Second and third graders both showed significant decreases in cortisol from before to after a cognitive task, but neither grade showed additional decreases from before to after a single yoga class. The second-grade teacher perceived significant improvements in several aspects his/her students’ behavior. The third-grade teacher perceived some, but fewer, improvements in his/her students’ behavior. Results suggest that school-based yoga may be advantageous for stress management and behavior.