Context: In the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War, a project was initiated and designed to reduce tension in the children living in the area under bombardment.
Aims: To assess the impact of yoga intervention in a group of Israeli school children residing in the region affected by the Second Lebanon War.
Settings and design: The study population included 122 school children aged 8-12 years in two elementary schools in Safed (n=55 and n=67, respectively) and their teachers (n=6). The children attended the third grade (n=28), fourth grade (n=42) and sixth grade (n=52). Inclusion in the study was based on the school principal's consent to participate in the program.
Materials and methods: Assessment was conducted using three questionnaires that have been previously validated in international studies and translated to Hebrew.
Statistical analysis used: Statistical analysis of the results included Wilcoxon Signed Ranked Tests for pre- and post-intervention comparisons and the Kruskall-Wallis test for teacher and child cross-comparisons.
Results: Based on the questionnaires completed by the children and their teachers, we found that the teachers reported many statistically significant improvements in the children's concentration, mood and ability to function under pressure, although the children themselves were unaware of any change in their behavior. Enjoyment was reported by all participants, and almost all expressed an interest in continuing to practice yoga during school hours. We conclude that participation in yoga classes may be both enjoyable and beneficial to children living in stressful conditions.
Conclusions: The study indicates that yoga may be beneficial as an intervention for children in postwar stress situations.
Keywords: Postwar; school children; stress.