For the research lovers and naysayers, the believers needing back up, parents wanting proof and the educators pursuing funding, this is for you…


IAYSM Research Bibliography A comprehensive listing of research articles and papers compiled by Adenia Linker IASYM Bibliography final

Qualitative Evaluation of a High School Yoga Program: Feasibility and Perceived Benefits-Conboy et al 2013

Factors Affecting Student Achievement and Related Behaviors-Dr Janet Buckenmeyer and Dr David Freitas

Evaluation of the Mental Benefits of Yoga in a Secondary School: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial- Khalsa et al

Benefits of Yoga for Psychosocial Well-Being in US High School Curriculum- Noggle et al

Improvement in Static Motor Performance following Yogic Training of School Children- Telles et al.

Reducing Stress in School-age Girls Through Mindful Yoga – White 2012

Research on school-based yoga and mindfulness suggests that these programs may have a number of positive effects on student health, behavior, and performance. (Butzer et al., 2016Felver et al., 2015Ferreira-Vorkapic et al., 2015Khalsa & Butzer, 2016Chung, 2018Maynard et al., 2017Serwacki & Cook-Cottone, 2012Zenner et al, 2014). The following list outlines some of the benefits of school-based yoga and mindfulness practices that address the whole child, thus maximizing the development of academic, social and emotional competence in addition to benefits for teachers and classroom climate:

Increasing numbers of teachers and administrators are recognizing that yoga, breath awareness and mindfulness activities are beneficial to their students’ (and their own!) mental health and well-being, and to the learning environment in general. In addition, yoga and mindfulness practices promote self-awareness and self management skills, the basis of social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies as espoused by CASEL (Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning). As yoga offers a non-competitive alternative to sports that supports PE and health standards, it’s also becoming part of many physical and health education curricula and after school enrichment offerings.

The many anecdotal benefits of yoga and mindfulness-based practices for children are well known, and carefully-controlled scientific research is growing every year. Based on increasing evidence supporting the efficacy of yoga for children, school-based yoga programs are being implemented across the United States. These programs are designed to address stress and anxiety, place emphasis on individual abilities rather than competition, and provide a non-threatening and gentle method to increase physical fitness and enhance health, well-being and emotional resilience.

Research in this field is preliminary, however scientific studies suggest that children who practice yoga-based movement, conscious breathing, and mindfulness/meditation activities are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves. They may also choose better foods to eat and engage in more physical activity than children who do not (Butzer et al., 2016Khalsa & Butzer, 2016). Studies also suggest that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are happier kids.

Studies also show that exercise facilitates children’s executive function (i.e., processes required to select, organize, and properly initiate goal-directed actions) by increasing activation in the prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system. By integrating physical movement with breathing exercises and mindful awareness, yoga serves as a promising form of physical and cognitive training to enhance learning-related outcomes (Butzer et al., 2016).

Research Centers and Laboratories:

Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education
Harvard Medical School Osher Research Center
Kripalu Center and Khalsa Yoga Research Lab
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds
Center for Mindfulness, in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (CFM), University of Massachusetts Medical School
Stanford University Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience Lab
Penn University Positive Psychology Center
Penn Program for Mindfulness
Mindful Awareness Research Center, UCLA
Mindsight Institute
Mind and Life Education Research Network
Center On The Developing Child at Harvard University
Brown University Contemplative Studies Initiative
Yale Child Study Center
Emory University Collaborative for Contemplative Studies
National Center for Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
Niroga Institute

Educational Organizations and Centers:

International Association for School Yoga & Mindfulness (IASYM)
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Healthy Schools Program
Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Consciousness-Based Education Association
Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
Mindfulness in Education Network
Association for Mindfulness in Education
Garrison Institute Contemplation and Education Initiative
Hawn Foundation MindUp Program
Mindful Schools
Mindfulness in Schools Project
Yoga Health Foundation