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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-23

Efficacy of vedic mathematics and yogic breathing in school children: A pilot study

1 Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, S-VYASA University, Bengaluru, India
2 Department of Biology, Sri Sai Angels PU College, Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India
3 Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, S-VYASA University, Bengaluru, India

Correspondence Address:
Vasant Venkatraman Shastri
S-VYASA, # 19, Eknath Bhawan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijny.ijoyppp_3_16

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Background: Anxiety can cause problems in examination performance, particularly mathematics. This study aimed to compare two methods of reducing math anxiety in 8th–10th standards, Yoga pranayama and Vedic mathematics (VM). We report a randomized controlled trial comparing effects of these on working memory, math anxiety, and cognitive flexibility. Subjects and Methods: Forty higher secondary students, resident at Sri Sai Angels School Chikkamagaluru were randomly assigned to Yogic Breathing, VM, and Jogging (JG) groups with 14, 13, and 13 children, respectively. Intervention: Children in Yoga breathing (YB) and VM groups attended 7-days' workshop on Pranayama and VM, respectively. Others went JG every day. Assessments: Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale-Revised, STROOP test, Children's Cognitive Assessment Questionnaire, and digit span test were administered pre and post the intervention. Analysis: SPSS-17 was used for nonparametric pre-post comparison tests (Wilcoxon) and group comparisons tests (Mann–Whitney). Results: Math anxiety decreased most in VM (−11.77 ± 10.47; P < 0.01). Others: YB (−4.08 ± 4.99; P < 0.05); JG, (−3.75 ± 16.94). Changes in cognitive flexibility and reaction to cognitive stress were VM (++9.77 ± 5; P < 0.001); YB (+5.38 ± 5.38; P < 0.01) and JG (+8.58 ± 9.91; P < 0.05). Self-defeating cognition scores decreased in YB (−1.77 ± 1.83; P < 0.01) and VM (−1.38 ± 3.2), but not JG (+0.67 ± 1.44). Digit span scores were similar in all groups. Conclusion: VM and YB showed small improvement in cognitive skills and decrease in math anxiety compared to JG. The study suggests that a 7-day VM workshop can decrease math anxiety, which might help enhance cognitive skills. Calming effects of pranayama practices are the probable cause for YB group improvements.

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