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Yoga Could Help Teens Ward Off Anxiety, Study Shows

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Considering yoga's stress-busting effects, one would think that high-schoolers might benefit from the practice.

And now, a study shows that yoga does confer benefits to teens. The research is published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted their study on 51 junior and senior high school students. Some of the students did a 10-week yoga PE class, and some did a regular PE class. The yoga PE class included Kripalu yoga, which included meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises, along with yoga poses.

At the beginning of the 10 week study, all the students took a number of psychological tests for things like mood problems, anxiety, mindfulness, resilience and anger expression.

The researchers found that by the end of the study, the teens who did yoga scored higher on some of the psychological tests, while the teens who didn't do yoga scored worse on some of the tests. For example, teens who did not do yoga during their PE classes scored higher for mood problems or anxiety, while those who did do yoga scored lower on these tests, or their scores remained the same from the beginning of the study period.

In addition, the teens who didn't do yoga reported more negative emotions during the study period, while the teens who did do yoga reported fewer negative emotions.

Plus, the study seemed to show that the teens liked the yoga classes -- the researchers reported that almost 75 percent of the teens who did yoga said they would like to keep taking yoga.

"Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health," study researcher Jessica Noggle, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.

Recently, a study from UCLA researchers found that meditation from yoga can help lower depression in caregivers, and may also improve their cognitive functioning.

Those researchers reported that caregivers are known to be at an increased risk of depression and stress -- plus, many caregivers tend to be older, which can lead to a lowered defense against stress and conditions like heart disease.

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