Are yoga-based interventions beneficial for psychological and cognitive functions among children and adolescents as compared to physical education?
Date of publication of the systematic review: September 2015
Design
Systematic review of 9 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Participants
4985 children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years. The reviewers did not report mean age and gender proportion of the participants.
Intervention
Yoga practices including Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Yoga Ed, Kripalu Yoga, Niroga TLS, The Mindful Awareness for Girls through Yoga and Hatha Yoga were used as intervention. Each yoga session ranged from 15 to 90 minutes, and the frequency of each session ranged from 1 to 7 days per week. Duration of yoga practices lasted for 8 to 18 weeks.
Comparator
Comparison: Yoga versus physical education (PE) classes.
Major Outcomes
Outcome 1: Profile of Mood States – Short Form (POMS -SF) general score as measured at the end of the intervention. Higher scores indicated less stable mood profiles;
Outcome 2: POMS-SF Tension and Anxiety subscale as measured at the end of the intervention;
Outcome 3: Self-esteem as measured at the end of the intervention;
Outcome 4: Memory performance as measured at the end of the intervention.
Settings
The included trials were performed at school settings.
Comparison    Yoga versus PE classes
Main Results
Compared to PE classes, yoga showed significantly better POMS-SF general score (pooled mean difference (pooled MD): -0.42, 95% CI: -0.76 to -0.07) and POMS-SF Tension and Anxiety subscale score (pooled MD: -0.036, 95% CI: -0.71 to -0.01). Yoga also showed significant improvement in self-esteem (pooled MD: -0.37, 95% CI: -0.66 to -0.07) and memory
Comparison: Yoga versus PE classes among children and adolescents
Outcomes No. of studies (Total no. of participants) Mean score/ No. of participants Heterogeneity test (I2) Pooled MD (95% CI) Overall quality of evidence*
Intervention Comparator
1 2 (152) Not reported/103 Not reported/49 17% -0.42 (-0.76 to -0.07) Moderate
2 2 (152) Not reported/103 Not reported/49 79% -0.036 (-0.71 to -0.01) Low
3 2 (198) Not reported/119 Not reported/79 63% -0.37 (-0.66 to -0.07) Low
4 3 (194) Not reported/97 Not reported/97 80% -0.85 (-1.14 to -0.55) Low
Keys: MD: mean difference; CI: confidence interval.
Comparison    Yoga versus PE classes
Main Results
Compared to PE classes, yoga showed significantly better POMS-SF general score (pooled mean difference (pooled MD): -0.42, 95% CI: -0.76 to -0.07) and POMS-SF Tension and Anxiety subscale score (pooled MD: -0.036, 95% CI: -0.71 to -0.01). Yoga also showed significant improvement in self-esteem (pooled MD: -0.37, 95% CI: -0.66 to -0.07) and memory
Comparison: Yoga versus PE classes among children and adolescents
Outcomes 1 2 3 4
No. of studies (Total no. of participants) 2 (152) 2 (152) 2 (198) 3 (194)
Mean score/ No. of participants Intervention Not reported/103 Not reported/103 Not reported/119 Not reported/97
Comparator Not reported/49 Not reported/49 Not reported/79 Not reported/97
Pooled MD (95% CI) -0.42 (-0.76 to -0.07) -0.036 (-0.71 to -0.01) -0.37 (-0.66 to -0.07) -0.85 (-1.14 to -0.55)
Overall quality of evidence* Moderate Low Low Low
Keys: MD: mean difference; CI: confidence interval.
Conclusion
Benefits
Compared to PE classes, yoga showed beneficial effects on improving mood, anxiety and tension, self-esteem and memory performance among children and adolescents. For outcome 1, the overall quality of evidence is moderate. Further research is fairly likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect. For outcomes 2 to 4, the overall quality of evidence is low. Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
Harms
None of the included trials reported on adverse events.
Link to Original Article
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600929/
The synopsis is based on the following article:
Ferreira-Vorkapic C, Feitoza JM, Marchioro M, Simões J, Kozasa E, Telles S. Are there benefits from teaching yoga at schools? A systematic review of randomized control trials of yoga-based interventions. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015 Sep 28;2015.


* Interpretation of quality assessment results:
• Very low: Further research is most likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Low: Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Moderate: Further research is fairly likely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• High: Further research is unlikely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.
• Very high: Further research is most unlikely to have an important impact on our confidence in this estimate of effect.

Details of assessment method can be found at Chung VC, Wu XY, Ziea ET, Ng BF, Wong SY, Wu JC. Assessing internal validity of clinical evidence on effectiveness of CHinese and integrative medicine: Proposed framework for a CHinese and Integrative Medicine Evidence RAting System (CHIMERAS). European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2015 Aug 31;7(4):332-41.