UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Bringing yoga into the classroom reduces adolescents’ emotional distress and anxiety and positively influences school engagement, unexcused absences and other disciplinary actions, according to a Penn State researcher.
Transformative Life Skills (TLS) is an evidence-based classroom program that teaches middle and high school students stress-management skills through the practice of yoga and mindful breathing. Developed five years ago by Jennifer Frank, assistant professor of special education in Penn State’s College of Education, TLS is a prevention and intervention program that incorporates yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation as a means to cope with stress.
“Adolescence is a time when many students are at risk for various psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety, which can lead to drug use and various mental health problems, ” Frank said. “Those risks are heightened for minorities and children from low-income families. We know that yoga reduces stress, but we wanted to see if TLS also was effective in enhancing student learning. Is there a link between the two?”