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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Dec;18(12):1161-7. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0579. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Effect of yoga on cognitive abilities in schoolchildren from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background: a randomized controlled study.

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Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samasthana, Bangalore, India.



The objective of this study was to assess the effect of yoga, compared to physical activity on the cognitive performance in 7-9 year-old schoolchildren from a socioeconomic disadvantaged background.


Two hundred (200) schoolchildren from Bangalore, India, after baseline assessment of cognitive functioning were randomly allocated to either a yoga or a physical-activity group. Cognitive functions (attention and concentration, visuo-spatial abilities, verbal ability, and abstract thinking) were assessed using an Indian adaptation of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children at baseline, after 3 months of intervention, and later at a 3-month follow-up.


Of the 200 subjects, 193 were assessed at 3 months after the study, and then 180 were assessed at the 3-month follow-up. There were no significant differences in cognitive performance between the two study groups (yoga versus physical activity) at postintervention, after controlling for grade levels. Improvement in the mean scores of cognitive tests following intervention varied from 0.5 (Arithmetic) to 1.4 (Coding) for the yoga group and 0.7 (Arithmetic) to 1.6 (Vocabulary) in the physical-activity group.


Yoga was as effective as physical activity in improving cognitive performance in 7-9 year old schoolchildren. Further studies are needed to examine the dose-response relationship between yoga and cognitive performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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