The Feasibility and Effectiveness of Mindful Yoga for Preschoolers Exposed to High Levels of Trauma

Rachel A. Razza, Rachel Uveges Linsner, Dessa Bergen-Cico, Emily Carlson, Staceyann Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: Although mindfulness-based interventions with children have been increasingly used as a strategy to promote social-emotional learning, the exploration of these practices among preschoolers in limited. This pilot study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of an 8-week mindful yoga program for preschoolers living in communities with high levels of trauma. Of particular interest was whether participation in the intervention was associated with gains in children’s self-regulation of attention and behavior. A related objective was to examine the acceptability and need for trauma-informed professional development for teaching staff. Methods: Five classrooms (n = 89 children) were randomly assigned to the intervention and control conditions; three classrooms participated during the fall and two classrooms served as wait-list controls who received the intervention in the spring. Results: Analyses revealed significant increases in children’s behavioral and attention regulation during the time that they participated in the intervention. An unexpected potentially influential finding was the high prevalence of posttraumatic stress among staff; the majority of staff experienced were above the threshold for civilian PTSD. Conclusions: Mindful yoga may be a promising strategy to promote behavioral regulation and attention regulation among economically disadvantaged preschoolers. Staff may also benefit from trauma-informed practices given their high rate of exposure to traumatic events and above-average levels of PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number
Pages (from-to)82
Number of pages93
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • At-risk
  • Mindfulness
  • Preschoolers
  • Trauma
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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