This page summarizes the latest research outcomes on the benefits of mindfulness yoga interventions, including its neuroscience. We focus specifically on benefits of students.  We also present outcomes of the studies that have been conducted with our organization throughout the last years.


Population HLF is working with:

  • High levels of chronic and acute stress associated with poverty and community violence
    • Youth growing up in neighborhoods such as East and West Baltimore are faced with high rates of violence, poverty, drug abuse, neglect
  • Increased risk of academic failure and school drop-out
  • Increased risk of psychological problems including impaired cognitive and affective regulation
    • Internalizing and externalizing disorders
  • Poor academic motivation
  • School-bullying and aggression (due to traumatizing events they experienced)


Effects of stress

Physiological stress responses à activation of a variety of hormone and neurochemical systems throughout the body. If the body fails to shut off the (stress hormone) cortisol release or experiences chronic stress, longer term effects can include a suppression of immune functions and contributions to memory impairment.


Effects of stress on the brain / neurological outcomes

Toxic stress in young children can lead to less outwardly visible yet permanent changes in brain structure and function.

  • Toxic stress exposure affects brain development and stress responses
    • Carrion, V., Weems, C., & Reiss, A. (2007). Stress predicts brain changes in children: A pilot longitudinal study on youth stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, and the hippocampus. Pediatrics, 119(3), 509.
  • Negatively influencing cognitive functioning and emotional regulation capabilities
  • Increased risk for negative emotional and behavioral outcomes
    • Teicher, M. H., Andersen, S. L., Polcari,A.,Anderson, C.M.,&Navalta, C. P. (2002). Developmental neurobiology of childhood stress and trauma. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 25(2), 397–426.


Research of mindfulness and yoga in the educational setting (effects on students)

  • Mindfulness as buffering factor for stress experience
  • Promoting students’ social-emotional competencies
    • increasing resiliency when confronted with stressful situations
  • Social-emotional competencies fostered by mindfulness include:
    • Self-awareness
    • Self-management
    • Social awareness
    • Relationship skills
    • Responsible decision making


Feagans Gould, L., Dariotis, J. K., Greenberg, M. T., & Mendelson, T. (2016). Assessing Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) for School-Based Mindfulness and Yoga Interventions: A Systematic Review. Mindfulness, 7(1), 5–33.


Dariotis, J. K., Mirabal-Beltran, R., Cluxton-Keller, F., Gould, L. F., Greenberg, M. T., & Mendelson, T. (2016). A Qualitative Evaluation of Student Learning and Skills Use in a School-Based Mindfulness and Yoga Program. Mindfulness, 7(1), 76–89.


Mendelson, T., K. Dariotis, J., Feagans Gould, L., S.R. Smith, A., A. Smith, A., A. Gonzalez, A., & T. Greenberg, M. (2013). Implementing mindfulness and yoga in urban schools: a community-academic partnership. Journal of Children’s Services, 8(4), 276–291.


Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M. T., Dariotis, J. K., Gould, L. F., Rhoades, B. L., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.


Dariotis, J. K., Cluxton-Keller, F., Mirabal-Beltran, R., Gould, L. F., Greenberg, M. T., & Mendelson, T. (2016). “The Program Affects Me: Cause it Gives Away Stress”: Urban Students” Qualitative Perspectives on Stress and a School-Based Mindful Yoga Intervention. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.


Semple, R. J., Droutman, V., & Reid, B. A. (2017). Mindfulness goes to school: Things Learned (so far) from research and real-world experiences. Psychol Sch., 54(1), 69–81.


Feagan Gould, L., Mendelson, T., Dariotis, J. K., Ancona, M., Smith, A. S. R., Gonzalez, A. A., … Greenberg, M. T. (2014). Assessing fidelity of core components in a mindfulness and yoga intervention for urban youth: applying the CORE Process. New Directions for Youth Development.