The number of children suffering from stress and anxiety in Malaysia is on the rise. Evidence shows that mind-body therapies such as mindfulness therapy, meditation and yoga have been practiced in many other countries to reduce and/or manage the psychological effects of stress and anxiety. This review article looks at the intervention of yoga as a meditative movement practice in helping school children manage stress and anxiety. Articles were retrieved using a combination of databases including PubMed/MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. Not only peer-reviewed articles, but also those written in English language were included in this review. All studies reviewed had incorporated some form of meditative movement exercise. The intervention encompassed asanas (postures), pranayama (expansion of life force), dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation), which are the different paths in yoga. A total of eight articles met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The findings of this review reveal that the practice of yoga has brought about, among other things, improvement in managing and reducing stress and anxiety. Despite the limitations in most, if not all of the studies reviewed, in terms of heterogeneity and sample size, yoga appears to be an effective modality for helping children cope with stress and anxiety. It appears that if schools in Malaysia can incorporate yoga as part of the physical education curriculum, it will definitely benefit the students.
Keywords: Anxiety; Child; Physiology; Stress; Yoga.
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