How Do you make a bunch of nine-years-old improve their grades? Just make them lie down on the floor and meditate.

At such a tender age, they probably don’t know their salamba kapotasana from their trikonasana. But that hasn’t stopped these primary school children benefiting from a spot of yoga.

Weekly lessons in the ancient discipline have helped to improve concentration and even  raise academic performance among pupils as young as four, say  their teachers.

The hour-long classes, which include guidance on how to control breathing using meditation  techniques, are being trialled at  ten infant and junior schools  in Essex.

And while the use of a £20,000 Government grant to fund the lessons will doubtless raise a few eyebrows, especially at a time of economic hardship, teachers insist they are having a positive effect.

Dave Read, 52, one of several instructors helping the children, dismissed the suggestion that bringing yoga into schools was an ‘airy-fairy’ idea.

The former history teacher said: ‘It is ultimately about improving concentration and grades.

‘Children are under increasing pressure and this gives them support.’

Yoga dates back around  5,000 years, originating in India, and is aimed at helping people attain spiritual insight and tranquillity.

This is not the first time it has been suggested that the discipline can benefit younger students.

In 2009 Riverside Primary School in Rotherhithe, South East London, scored a 100 per cent pass rate in Sats tests in English, maths and science after pupils were taught breathing exercises by a yoga teacher before the exams.

Article By: Andrew Levy