Yoga Lessens Risky Behaviors in Young Adults
A long-term study conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio suggests that mindful yoga and other coping strategies can lessen the rate of risky behaviors in young people who are at increased risk due to their exposure to violence and family disruptions. According to the researchers, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and delinquency in troubled youth between ages 18 and 24 can be markedly reduced with positive coping techniques.
The 10-year study involved more than 125 at-risk youth exposed to early-life stressors like chronic neglect, physical or emotional abuse, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and family economic hardship. Study results, which were presented at the American Public Health Association conference in Atlanta in November, suggest that learned or self-generated positive coping behaviors such as participation in sports or other physical activities, yoga, and mindfulness meditation can have a protective effect in these young people.
Positive coping strategies can teach at-risk youth how to cut their stress and better control their emotions. Those who do not develop positive coping strategies are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including unprotected sex, sex for money, substance abuse, and violence.