Mindfulness in Education and Human Development (2015-2016)

Yoga and meditation are ancient tools and practices that are now learned and widely utilized by adults in the United States and around the world. These practices have become popular because of their positive effects on physical and mental health, such as reducing mood and anxiety disorders, lowering blood pressure and regulating stress response. In the past decade, researchers have turned their attention to looking at how yoga and meditation may be useful for the health and well-being of children and adolescents. However, very little research currently exists in the area of yoga and education.

An interdisciplinary collaboration between Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, this project studied the effects of yoga and mindfulness practice in K-12 education. Community partners included local organizations and schools that took part in a quantitative and qualitative research study. Research was coordinated with a free afterschool program administered by Communities in Schools of Orange County, Inc. (CIS), and Y.O.G.A for Youth.

Yoga practitioners are predominantly white, female and college-educated. The team’s research questions were: How can we make yoga accessible to underserved youth, and how does the afterschool yoga program impact them and what are the benefits?

To increase access, the team offered scholarships for Y.O.G.A for Youth teacher training and hosted workshops and local presenters, expanding access to a more diverse community. A major activity was the Embodied Learning Summit, whose theme was “Healing from Our Roots: Mindfulness and Movement Work.”


Fall 2015 – Spring 2016

Team Outcomes

Mindfulness in Human Development (poster by Sarah Pederson, Moriah Glenn, Sarah Jeffries, Sakura Takahashi, Kenneth Strickland, Keval Kaur Khalsa, Michele Tracy Berger)

EHDx Talks (presentation by Sarah Jeffries and Sakura Takahashi at the Nasher Museum of Art, April 13, 2016)

Bass Connections: Mindfulness in Education (project website)

Y.O.G.A. for Youth Teacher Training

This Team in the News

Call for Workshop Proposals: 2016 Embodied Learning Summit

Y.O.G.A. for Youth North Carolina Spring Teacher Training

Bass Connections Project Funds Yoga Research

Well Connected

Our participatory aims are grounded in a social justice framework. We want to expand the diversity that is represented in yoga practice. —Sarah Jeffries

See related teams, Mindfulness in Education and Human Development (2014-2015) and Mindfulness in Human Development (2016-2017).

Team Leaders

  • Keval Kaur Khalsa, Arts & Sciences-Dance

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Sakura Takahashi, Psychology (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Michele Berger, Department of Women's & Gender Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Communities In Schools of Orange County
  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School System
  • Y.O.G.A. for Youth
  • Moriah Glenn, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Sarah Jeffries, UNC-Chapel Hill (Undergraduate student)
  • Sarah Pederson, UNC-Chapel Hill - Department of Women's & Gender Studies