Association of yogic breathing with perceived stress and conception of strengths and difficulties in teenagers

Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2021 Apr;26(2):406-417. doi: 10.1177/1359104521994633. Epub 2021 Feb 16.


Background: Mental health problems are increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world, and teenagers are no exception. They experience high levels of stress in their formative years which often leads to poor social behavior. In the present study, we examine the effect of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY), a yogic breathing technique on perceived stress and social behavior of school going teenagers.

Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted. Teenagers who practiced SKY daily constituted the study group and teenagers who did not practice any form of yoga or meditation formed the control group. Child Perceived Stress scale (C-PSS) and Strength and Difficulty questionnaire (SDQ) were used to evaluate the mental health and social behavior of both groups.

Results: Lower stress scores were observed among students who practiced SKY compared to their peers. A significant difference was observed between the groups with respect to emotional problems, conduct problems, peer problems, and pro-social behavior. Gender wise comparison highlighted that the females from the SKY group scored lower on emotional problems sub-scale compared to their counterparts from control group. Results also highlighted an improved peer to peer interaction among both boys and girls in the SKY group.

Conclusion: The results indicate the practice of SKY is associated with reduced stress, improved self-awareness, and social behavior.

Keywords: C-PSS; SDQ; Sudarshan Kriya; Yogic breathing; mental health; stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Yoga*