In today’s fast-paced world, stress and mental health challenges are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially among young people. Amidst this growing concern, yoga emerges as a powerful tool for promoting relaxation and enhancing mental wellbeing. A recent study by Hagen, Skjelstad, and Nayar (2023) explores the impact of yoga on reducing stress and improving mental health among teenagers. Conducted as part of the European “Hippocampus” project, this research provides valuable insights into how yoga can be integrated into daily routines to foster a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. This article delves into the study’s findings, its implications for fitness professionals, and practical applications for improving clients’ mental health through yoga.

The Study

The research study, conducted by Hagen, Skjelstad, and Nayar (2023), focused on the impact of yoga on young people’s mental health and stress levels. The study was part of the larger European research project “Hippocampus: Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing among Young People through Yoga.” This project aimed to introduce yoga to disadvantaged youth, including those with mental health issues, to promote relaxation and healthier lifestyle choices.

The study used qualitative data collected from nine individual semi-structured interviews and 133 logs maintained by teenagers in Norway who participated in an 8-week yoga intervention programme. The yoga sessions were conducted weekly and were designed to assess how yoga influenced the participants’ stress, relaxation, and sleep patterns. The focus was on understanding how yoga could contribute to the participants’ overall mental wellbeing from a salutogenic perspective, which emphasises health-promoting factors rather than disease.


The results indicated that practising yoga significantly improved the participants’ awareness of their need to relax and positively impacted their mental health and wellbeing. Key findings included:

  1. Increased Relaxation: Participants reported feeling more relaxed and aware of the importance of unwinding.
  2. Improved Stress Management: Yoga helped students manage their stress levels more effectively, leading to better mental health.
  3. Enhanced Sleep Patterns: The practice of yoga contributed to improved sleep quality, which is crucial for overall mental health.

The study concluded that yoga is a beneficial tool for promoting mental health and reducing stress among young people. By fostering relaxation and better stress management, yoga can help young people navigate the challenges of modern life, including performance pressures in school and social expectations. The salutogenic approach of yoga, which focuses on enhancing positive health factors, aligns well with the needs of young people facing mental health challenges.

Promote Relaxation and Mental Wellbeing with Our Yoga Instructor Course at TRAINFITNESS

Promote Relaxation and Mental Wellbeing with Our Yoga Instructor Course at TRAINFITNESS


Integrating Yoga into Training Programmes

We can apply the findings of this study by incorporating yoga into our clients’ training programmes. Here are some practical steps:

  1. Incorporate Relaxation Techniques: Emphasise relaxation techniques in yoga sessions, such as deep breathing, meditation, and gentle stretching. These techniques can help clients manage stress and improve mental health.
  2. Focus on Holistic Health: Adopt a holistic approach to fitness and wellness that includes not just physical exercise but also mental and emotional health. Yoga’s emphasis on mindfulness and relaxation makes it an ideal practice for this purpose.
  3. Offer Yoga for All Levels: Ensure that yoga classes are accessible to all fitness levels, including beginners. This inclusivity will encourage more people to participate and benefit from yoga’s stress-reducing effects.
  4. Educate Clients on the Benefits: Inform clients about the mental health benefits of yoga, including its impact on stress reduction and sleep improvement. Understanding the benefits can motivate clients to engage more deeply with their practice.

Benefits for Clients

  • Stress Reduction: Clients will benefit from reduced stress levels, leading to improved mental health and overall wellbeing.
  • Improved Sleep: Better sleep patterns can result from regular yoga practice, enhancing clients’ physical health and mental clarity.
  • Enhanced Self-awareness: Yoga can increase clients’ awareness of their physical and mental states, promoting healthier lifestyle choices.
  • Better Coping Mechanisms: Clients will develop better coping mechanisms for dealing with the pressures of modern life, including work and social demands.

The study conducted by Hagen et al. highlights the significant benefits of yoga in promoting mental health and reducing stress among young people. We can leverage these findings to enhance our clients’ training programmes, offering them holistic health benefits. By incorporating relaxation techniques and emphasising the mental health benefits of yoga, we can help clients achieve better stress management, improved sleep, and overall wellbeing.


  1. Hagen, I., Skjelstad, S., & Nayar, U. S. (2023). Promoting mental health and wellbeing in schools: The impact of yoga on young people’s relaxation and stress levels. Frontiers in Psychology. Click here to review the full research article
  2. Krokstad, S., et al. (2022). Trends in mental health among adolescents and young adults in Norway. Journal of Mental Health. Click here to review the full research article
  3. Eriksen, I. M., et al. (2017). School stress and mental health among Norwegian youth. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research. Click here to review the full research article
  4. Selye, H. (1978). The Stress of Life. McGraw-Hill.
  5. Antonovsky, A. (1996). The salutogenic model as a theory to guide health promotion. Health Promotion International. Click here to review the full research article
  6. Bhavanani, A. B. (2014). Yoga: A synthesis of physical, mental, and spiritual health. International Journal of Yoga. Click here to review the full research article
  7. Khalsa, S. B. S., et al. (2012). Yoga in school settings: A research review. Children and Schools. Click here to review the full research article

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