, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 76–89 | Cite as

A Qualitative Evaluation of Student Learning and Skills Use in a School-Based Mindfulness and Yoga Program

  • Jacinda K. Dariotis
  • Roxanne Mirabal-Beltran
  • Fallon Cluxton-Keller
  • Laura Feagans Gould
  • Mark T. Greenberg
  • Tamar Mendelson


Previous studies on school-based mindfulness and yoga programs have focused primarily on quantitative measurement of program outcomes. This study used qualitative data to investigate program content and skills that students remembered and applied in their daily lives. Data were gathered following a 16-week mindfulness and yoga intervention delivered at three urban schools by a community non-profit organization. We conducted focus groups and interviews with nine classroom teachers who did not participate in the program and held six focus groups with 22 fifth and sixth grade program participants. This study addresses two primary research questions: (1) What skills did students learn, retain, and utilize outside the program? and (2) What changes did classroom teachers expect and observe among program recipients? Four major themes related to skill learning and application emerged as follows: (1) youths retained and utilized program skills involving breath work and poses; (2) knowledge about health benefits of these techniques promoted self-utilization and sharing of skills; (3) youths developed keener emotional appraisal that, coupled with new and improved emotional regulation skills, helped de-escalate negative emotions, promote calm, and reduce stress; and (4) youths and teachers reported realistic and optimistic expectations for future impact of acquired program skills. We discuss implications of these findings for guiding future research and practice.


Mindfulness Yoga Skills School-based Youth Qualitative 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was approved by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health IRB and has therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacinda K. Dariotis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roxanne Mirabal-Beltran
    • 2
  • Fallon Cluxton-Keller
    • 2
  • Laura Feagans Gould
    • 3
  • Mark T. Greenberg
    • 4
  • Tamar Mendelson
    • 5
  1. 1.College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services; Evaluation Services CenterUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Minds IncorporatedWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Prevention Research CenterPennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  5. 5.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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