London, Dec 14 Practising Kundalini yoga - which involves meditation, breathing exercises, chanting mantras and adapting certain postures - may help improve the health and psychological wellbeing of children in care homes, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK found that children in care homes have a higher degree of physical and mental health needs than their not-in-care counterparts, and in comparison to children who are in other forms of care, such as foster care.
The study was carried out under the belief of 'creative practice as mutual recovery', and looked at the idea that shared creativity, collective experience and mutual benefit can promote resilience in mental health and well-being among communities that have been traditionally divided - for example children's home staff and children.
Researchers tested a 20-week Kundalini yoga programme in three children's homes situated in the East Midlands.
The programme was evaluated according to recruitment and retention rates, self-reporting questionnaires from the participants and semi-structured interviews.
The study shows that yoga practice in children's homes, especially when participation is high, has the potential to encourage togetherness and mutuality and improve health and psychological outcomes for children in care, as well as within the workforce.
All the participants reported that the study was personally meaningful and experienced both individual - like feeling more relaxed - and social benefits - for example feeling more open and positive.
Individuals reported that the yoga sessions helped to show them beneficial exercises that they could use in various contexts, such as before going to bed, or during emotionally challenging times at work as well as at home.
The social benefits were also far-reaching with some participants reporting that they felt more positive, open to others and, as a consequence, had seen an improvement in their social lives and out of work. Some staff and residents noticed that other people also interacted more positively with them.
"The findings are very exciting as they suggest that the practice of Kundalini yoga, involving both staff and children in care, is a plausible intervention that can lead to individual and social benefits," said Elvira Perez from University of Nottingham.
"This could have potentially huge, wide-reaching benefits for children in care as well as for all the staff working in residential settings," said Perez.
"The study has generated a number of valuable guiding principles and recommendations that might underpin the development of any future intervention for children in care and the staff working in these homes," Perez added. The study was published in The Journal of Children's Services.