International Journal of Health Sciences and Research

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Original Research Article

Year: 2018 | Month: March | Volume: 8 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 1-10

Yoga in United States Urban Schools: Outcomes for Student Response to Stress and Academic Achievement

Joanne Carman1, Andria Parrott2

1Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28215;
2Research Scientist, Center for Biobehavioral Health, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 700 Children’s Drive, FB 3124, Columbus, OH 43125,

Corresponding Author: Joanne Carman


A large, United States urban school district implemented a yoga program in five public elementary schools. A private, philanthropic foundation funded, trained, and supported an instructor at each school to deliver a yoga and mindfulness-based curriculum. The program targeted students in the fourth and fifth grade ages 9-12 years. The program was evaluated using a quasi-experimental design, matching five of the nine schools to comparison schools with similar socio-economic and demographic characteristics. Analysis of variance and linear regression tests found that some positive outcomes were more pronounced among fourth grade students which received the yoga program for two years, suggesting there is value among repeated exposure to the curriculum. Descriptive data suggested that most students liked the program, with many students reporting using the program’s breath and movement strategies outside of the school settings. Improvements in academic achievement, as measured by standardize test scores, however, were not found. While the findings from this large-scale outcomes study of a children’s yoga program contributes to the literature by showcasing the value of these types of programs, the study also highlights the importance of mixed methods studies and the need to develop more robust methods for detecting the outcomes associated with these and other types of programs.

Key words: Health, yoga, wellness, stress, student academic

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