Week 6: Yoga and Test Scores

May 07, 2021

On Tuesday I attended a webinar by BASIS that was hosted by Dr. Jonathan Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal is a resident physician in Neurology and a yoga student of Sri Dharma Mittra. He is a very strong believer in the power of yoga and has recently conducted studies that relate to my project. During the hour long session that I sat in on, Dr. Rosenthal talked about several topics, most of which I already knew about, and how they connected into his studies. One such topic was Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is defined as the variation in time intervals between heartbeats. It confused me a little to think that a higher HRV is better for you, since a lower heart rate is generally considered more desirable, but Dr. Rosenthal’s explanation helped me figure it out. He then brought up the concept of a Stroop Test, which is something that I had done many times in Ms. Das’ AP Psychology and Neuroscience classes. The idea of a Stroop Test is basically that you have a color written out, but the color of that word is another color besides the one that is spelled out (ex: blue). You then have to say the color of the word (not the color written) and the different examples are shown rapidly. Dr. Rosenthal’s experiment consisted of the participants HRV being measured, then participants completing a Stroop Test which led into an hour of yoga. This was followed by the participants HRV being measured again and then a different variation of the Stroop Test being completed. Unsurprisingly, HRV improved by about 16% after just an hour of yoga and participant’s Stroop Test scores went up by about 14% as well. This relates to my experiment because the calming sensation of yoga improved the test scores and HRV, which gives me hope that the breathing techniques in my experiment will improve the test scores of 3rd graders. More on that next time…

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