Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2019 Jul 22;6(7):84.
doi: 10.3390/children6070084.

Immediate Effect of a Yoga Breathing Practice on Attention and Anxiety in Pre-Teen Children

Free PMC article

Immediate Effect of a Yoga Breathing Practice on Attention and Anxiety in Pre-Teen Children

Shirley Telles et al. Children (Basel). .
Free PMC article


Pre-teen children face stressors related to their transition from childhood to adolescence, with a simultaneous increase in academic pressure. The present study compared the immediate effects of 18 min of (i) high frequency yoga breathing with (ii) yoga-based breath awareness and (iii) sitting quietly, on (a) attention and (b) anxiety, in 61 pre-teen children (aged between 11 and 12 years; 25 girls). Attention was assessed using a six letter cancellation task and Spielberger's State Trait Anxiety Inventory STAI-S was used to measure anxiety before and after the three practices, practiced on separate days. Repeated measures ANOVA, followed by Bonferroni adjusted post-hoc analyses showed an increase in total attempts and net scores after high frequency yoga breathing (p < 0.05), while wrong attempts increased after yoga based breath awareness (p < 0.05). Anxiety decreased comparably after all three interventions. The 25 girls in the group had the same trend of results as the whole group with respect to the attention-based cancellation task, while boys showed no, how since change. For both girls and boys, anxiety decreased after all three 18min interventions. The results suggest that high frequency yoga breathing could be a short, useful school based practice to improve attention and reduce anxiety.

Keywords: anxiety; attention; pre-teen children; sitting quietly; yoga based breath awareness; yoga breathing.

Conflict of interest statement

Authors declare no competing interests with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Schematic representation of the study design. This is a schematic representation of the study design. The interventions are as follows: The hatched rectangle indicates high frequency yoga breathing (HFYB), the stippled rectangle indicates breath awareness (BAW), the cross hatched rectangle indicates quiet sitting (QS) and the smaller darkened rectangles indicate rest periods of one minute duration.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Sivagurunathan C., Umadevi R., Rama R., Gopalakrishnan S. Adolescent health: Present status and its related programmes in India. Are we in the right direction? J. Clin. Diagn. Res. 2015;9:LE01. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2015/11199.5649. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Central Board of Secondary Education Exam stress: Natural Feeling Learn to Deal with it. [(accessed on 21 May 2019)]; Available online:
    1. Hagberg S. Learning to Live or to Leave? Education and Identity in Burkina Faso. In: Melin M., editor. Education—A Way Out of Poverty? Poverty Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 2001. The Education Division at Sida, Department for Democracy and Social Development; Stockholm, Sweden: 2002.
    1. Eggleston B. The benefits of yoga for children in schools. Int. J. Health Wellness Soc. 2015;5:1–7. doi: 10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v05i03/41125. - DOI
    1. Gupta A., Sinha S., Pribesh S., Maira S. A fresh breath into student achievement: Pranayama and educational outcomes. Int. J. Humanit. Soc. Sci. Invent. 2014;3:38–46.