Introduction: While young people in today’s world need a skill set to pursue a meaningful career, they also need a set of psychosocial skills to do well in society. Life skills are psychosocial competencies which allow people to recognize and process emotions and handle everyday issues.
The key life skills identified by the WHO are decision-making, creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, interpersonal skills, self-awareness, empathy, resilience and coping with motions and stress. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) has suggested three “transformative competencies”; Creating new value, Reconciling tensions and dilemmas, and Taking responsibility.
Yoga not only enhances physical stamina and flexibility but also emotional stability, intellectual and creative talents. This study looks at the attainment of life skills and transformative competencies in medical students practicing yoga regularly.
Objectives: To identify the core life skills required to help medical students cope with their societal needs and obligations.
To document changes in thought processes brought about by the regular practice of yoga.
Methods: This study was taken up in the NRI Medical College of Guntur district in the months of October and November 2019 involving 81 female medical students from 6th to 9th Semesters. A pretested life skills based questionnaire was administered individually after taking an informed consent. Data was entered in MS Excel and presented as percentages in tables. Important findings were subjected to test of significance like Chi square test at 5% Level of Significance. Results: 45.7% of the study subjects were regularly practicing yoga. Overall, interpersonal relationship (84.0%), effective communication (74.1%) and empathy (74.1%) were skills that all the girls acknowledged as having. Agreement in skills like critical thinking (59.3%), creative thinking (70.4%), decision making (67.9%), problem solving (61.7%) and coping with emotions (65.4%) were however lower.
Discussion: While many students could not affirm having many core life skills, students practicing yoga regularly, had a more positive outlook. Classifying core life skills arbitrarily under the above three transformative competencies, it is seen that the domain of “creating new value” comprising creative thinking, critical thinking and problem solving are areas which need more inputs in young people.
Conclusion: Practicing yoga consistently instills important life skills. Technical and other institutions need to include yoga practice in the curriculum in order to equip students for transformational competencies which will help them to cope with the future.