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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 8725654, 7 pages
Research Article

Perceived Benefits of Yoga among Urban School Students: A Qualitative Analysis

1Social Work Department, Long Island University, Brooklyn, Health Science Building 248, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
2Department of Physical Therapy, Long Island University, Brooklyn, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA

Received 22 September 2015; Accepted 21 December 2015

Academic Editor: Waris Qidwai

Copyright © 2016 Donna Wang and Marshall Hagins. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study reports on the findings of a qualitative evaluation of a yoga intervention program for urban middle and high school youth in New York City public and charter schools. Six focus groups were conducted with students who participated in a year-long yoga program to determine their perceptions of mental and physical benefits as well as barriers and challenges. Results show that students perceived the benefits of yoga as increased self-regulation, mindfulness, self-esteem, physical conditioning, academic performance, and stress reduction. Barriers and challenges for a yoga practice include lack of time and space. The extent to which the benefits experienced are interrelated to one another is discussed. Suggestions for future research and school-based programming are also offered.