The Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living has partnered with Sat Bir S. Khalsa of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to rigorously evaluate the KYIS curriculum through randomized control trials. Key findings of our research are

  • The KYIS curriculum reliably improved resilience and prevented increases in negative emotional states in high school students.
  • The KYIS curriculum also attenuates anxiety and stress and improves the ability of high school students to self-regulate.
  • High school students who practiced yoga as part of their PE curriculum experienced decreased tension, anxiety, and negativity.


Qualitative Evaluation of a High School Yoga Program: Feasibility and Perceived Benefits

AUTHOR(S): Lisa A. Conboy, Jessica J. Noggle, Jessica L. Frey, Ravi S. Kudesia, Sat Bir S. Khalsa

SOURCE: EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing

ABSTRACT: This is the first published qualitative assessment of a yoga program applied in a high school setting. This qualitative interview study was nested in a randomized, controlled trial studying the effects of a yoga program offered in place of a semester of physical education classes at a rural public high school. Student interviews were conducted following a semester of the yoga program. A formal passive consent with information about the qualitative study was sent home to parents/guardians of all students in the parent study prior to the interviews. Most students enjoyed the yoga classes and felt benefits. Negative reports of yoga practice were associated with gender as most males sensed peer pressure against practicing yoga. Despite this finding, most students wanted to continue yoga and would continue if it were offered in school. Positive reports include a greater kinesthetic awareness, which some students association with a greater respect for the body, and improved self-image. Among students reporting psychological benefits, many cited stress reduction; many used yoga to manage negative emotions; some propagated more optimism. Most thought yoga could reduce interest in the use of drugs and alcohol and increase social cohesion with family and peers. We found that a yoga program is feasible in this sample of 9th and 10th graders, especially after benefits are perceived. We also found evidence that yoga may lead to emergent positive benefits in health behaviors not directly prescribed by the program. These results suggest that school-based yoga programs may be appropriate for promoting healthy behaviors at a societal level by focusing on the prevention of negative patterns during the adolescent transition.


Effects of a Yoga-Based Intervention for Young Adults on Quality of Life and Perceived Stress: The Potential Mediating Roles of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

AUTHOR(S): Tim Gard, Narayan Brach, Britta K. Hölzel, Jessica J. Noggle, Lisa A. Conboy, Sara W. Lazar

SOURCE: The Journal of Positive Psychology

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of a yoga-based program on quality of life, perceived stress, mindfulness, and self-compassion in young adults. These variables were measured in 33 self-selected participants of a four-month residential yoga intervention before and after the program. Forty-three demographically matched controls completed the same questionnaires at two time points with a four-month interval in between. Participation in the program predicted increases in quality of life and decreases in perceived stress, mediated by mindfulness and self-compassion. Multiple mediator models revealed that the effect of group on quality of life was simultaneously mediated by mindfulness and self-compassion, while the effect of group on perceived stress was only mediated by self-compassion. These positive effects on perceived stress and quality of life suggest that yoga-based interventions may be of value in cultivating subjective well-being in young adults. Furthermore, yoga-based and mindfulness-based interventions may share underlying mechanisms.


Benefits of Yoga for Psychosocial Well-Being in a US High School Curriculum: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial

AUTHOR(S): Jessica J. Noggle, Naomi J. Steiner, Takuya Minami, Sat Bir S. Khalsa

SOURCE: Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

ABSTRACT: Objective: To test feasibility of yoga within a high school curriculum and evaluate preventive efficacy for psychosocial well-being. Methods: Grade 11 or 12 students (N = 51) who registered for physical education (PE) were cluster-randomized by class 2:1 yoga:PE-as-usual. A Kripalu Yoga program of physical postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation was taught two to three times a week for 10 weeks. Self-report questionnaires were administered to students one week before and after. Primary outcome measures of psychosocial well-being were Profile of Mood States—Short Form and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children. Additional measures of psychosocial well-being included Perceived Stress Scale and Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes. Secondary measures of self-regulatory skills included Resilience Scale, State Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2™, and Child Acceptance Mindfulness Measure. To assess feasibility, yoga students completed a program evaluation. Analyses of covariance were conducted between groups with baseline as the covariate. Results: Although PE-as-usual students showed decreases in primary outcomes, yoga students maintained or improved. Total mood disturbance improved in yoga students and worsened in controls (p .015), as did Profile of Mood States-Short Form (POMS-SF) Tension-Anxiety subscale (p .002). Although positive affect remained unchanged in both, negative affect significantly worsened in controls while improving in yoga students (p .006). Secondary outcomes were not significant. Students rated yoga fairly high, despite moderate attendance. Conclusions: Implementation was feasible and students generally found it beneficial. Although not causal due to small, uneven sample size, this preliminary study suggests preventive benefits in psychosocial well-being from Kripalu Yoga during high school PE. These results are consistent with previously published studies of yoga in school settings.


Evaluation of the Mental Health Benefits of Yoga in a Secondary School: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial

AUTHOR(S): Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Lynn Hickey-Schultz, Deborah Cohen, Naomi Steiner, Stephen Cope

SOURCE: The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research

ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to evaluate potential mental health benefits of yoga for adolescents in secondary school. Students were randomly assigned to either regular physical education classes or to 11 weeks of yoga sessions based upon the Yoga Ed program over a single semester. Students completed baseline and end-program self-report measures of mood, anxiety, perceived stress, resilience, and other mental health variables. Independent evaluation of individual outcome measures revealed that yoga participants showed statistically significant differences over time relative to controls on measures of anger control and fatigue/inertia. Most outcome measures exhibited a pattern of worsening in the control group over time, whereas changes in the yoga group over time were either minimal or showed slight improvements. These preliminary results suggest that implementation of yoga is acceptable and feasible in a secondary school setting and has the potential of playing a protective or preventive role in maintaining mental health.


Yoga in Public School Improves Adolescent Mood and Affect

AUTHOR(S): Joshua Felver, Bethany Butzer, Katherine Olson, Iona Smith, and Sat Bir Khalsa

SOURCE: Contemporary School Psychology

ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to directly compare the acute effects of participating in a single yoga class versus a single standard physical education (PE) class on student mood. Forty-seven high school students completed self-report questionnaires assessing mood and affect immediately before and after participating in a single yoga class and a single PE class one week later. Data were analyzed using paired-samples t tests and Wilcoxon-signed ranks tests and by comparing effect sizes between the two conditions. Participants reported significantly greater decreases in anger, depression, and fatigue from before to after participating in yoga compared to PE. Significant reductions in negative affect occurred after yoga but not after PE; however, the changes were not significantly different between conditions. In addition, after participating in both yoga and PE, participants reported significant decreases in confusion and tension, with no significant difference between groups. Results suggest that school-based yoga may provide unique benefits for students above and beyond participation in PE. Future research should continue to elucidate the distinct psychological and physiological effects of participating in yoga compared to PE activities.