Yoga and Learning

Contemplative practices, such as yoga, improve motivation and assist in self-regulated learning.

Roeser, R.W. & Peck, S. C. (2009). An education in awareness: Self, motivation, and self-regulated learning in contemplative perspective. Educational Psychologist, 44, 119–136.

Yoga can produce a calming effect, which helps children get into a frame of mind conducive to learning..

Gates, G., & Wolverton, M. (2007). Emerging Thought and Research on Student, Teacher, and Administrator Stress and Coping: Information Age Publishing Incorporated CT.

Stress Reduction

Yoga for children is a relaxation technique that has been found to reduce stress and tension, dissipate excess energy, relieve tiredness, lengthen attention span, improve physical health, sharpen concentration, enhance mental clarity, and cultivate better interpersonal relationships.

Peck, H. L., Kehle, T. J., Bray, M. A., & Theodore, L. A. (2005). Yoga as an intervention for children with attention problems. School Psychology Review, 34(3), 415-424. 

Vempati, R.P. (2002). Yoga-based guided relaxation reduces sympathetic activity judged from baseline levels. Psychological Reports, 90 (2), 487-494.


In studies addressing ADD/ADHD, yoga/mindfulness has led to: Decreased hyperactivity and impulsivity, increased self-control, increased attention spans, reduced anxiety, leading to higher IQ scores; improved complex learning skills, increased spatial memory; and increased time on task and a decrease in hyperactive behaviors.

Carboni, J. A., Roach, A. T., & Fredrick, L. D. (2013). Impact of mindfulness training on the behavior of elementary students with attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder. Research in Human Development, 10(3), 234.

Jensen, P. (2004). The effects of yoga on the attention and behavior of boys with Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The Journal of Attention Disorders, 7 (4), 205-216.

Treuting, J., and Hinshaw, S.P. (2001). Depression and self-esteem in boys with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: associations with comorbid aggression and explanatory attributional mechanisms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29 (1), 23-39.

Tools for School Psychologists

Child and school psychologists describe the importance of teaching mindfulness to kids. This article recommends and describes specific exercises.

Hooker, K. E & Fodor, I.E (2008). The importance of teaching mindfulness to kids. Gestalt Review, 12 (1), 75-91. Available at

Improves Teachers' Work Environment

Mindfulness techniques, including yoga, help to prevent teacher burnout and build resiliency. The same techniques used in the classroom could improve student behaviors. Both are essential for maintaining a stable teaching force.

Jennings, P., Frank, J., Snowberg, K., Coccia, M. & Greenberg, M. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, Sep 9 [Online First].

Laravee, B. (2012).Cultivating teacher renewal: Guarding against stress and burnout. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 

May Keep Kids in School and Successful

Controlled studies on the effects of the Niroga Institute’s yoga programming on adjudicated youth and those in high-poverty, urban schools indicate that yoga is effective in mitigating the effects of chronic stress and improving attitudes towards school. The Bose article includes policy implications for reducing school aggression and promoting pro-social behaviors that are correlated with school success. The Walton article contains links to major works that explain how yoga can help keep kids in school.

Bose, B. K. (2013). A necessary catalyst: Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline with yoga. Journal of Yoga Service, 1(1): 23-28.

Walton, A.G. (Jul 24, 2013). How yoga could help keep kids in school. Forbes. Retrieved from

Yoga as Critical Pedagogy

Dr. Hyde’s chapter contains specific information about select school yoga programs as they are aligned with teaching and learning standards and represent critical pedagogy.

Hyde, A. M. (2012). The Yoga in Schools Movement: Using Standards for Educating the Whole Child and Making Space for Teacher Self-Care in J.A. Gorlewski, B. Porfilio & D.A. Gorlewski (Eds.), Using Standards and High-Stakes Testing for Students: Exploiting Power with Critical Pedagogy. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. [AESA’s 2012 Critics’ Choice Book Award Winner]