Is yoga beneficial for someone who stutters? Yes. Does it cure stuttering? No.
In a study conducted with a fairly small group of participants, the regular practice of yoga showed a decrease in anxiety levels, specifically anxiety caused due to communication. This has led to the suggestion that yoga can help reduce and cure stuttering.
This arises from the incorrect assumption that anxiety causes stuttering. Speech impediments and disfluency occurs due to anomalies in one’s sensory-motor reflexes. People who stutter are genetically pre-disposed towards it. Anxiety can exaggerate stuttering but it not the primary cause. The assumption that by reducing stress levels and relaxing, one can cure speech defects is both derivative and inaccurate.
There are those who propose yoga as an alternative to medication and speech therapy. A holistic approach that can help someone who stutters find his/her voice by getting in touch with nature. Firstly, there is no medication for stuttering and never has it been either prescribed or advocated. Secondly, speech therapists do more than just breathing exercises. They are licensed professionals with years of experience working with children and adults. Speech therapists guide people with speech impediments come to terms with the complex facets of how their disfluency affects their lives, relationships, and sense of self.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that yoga is an effective treatment for speech defects. Moreover, there is no evidence that the reduction of anxiety helps alleviate the severity of stuttering in adults. On the contrary, the bold statements that by simply learning to relax and meditate they can remedy their stuttering, can keep people from seeking the help they need. It reeks of an entitled and derogatory approach towards people who stutter that dictates that they ‘fix’ themselves for others.