Research Supporting our MTM Program
Compelling evidence has been established over the past few years in the academic research of contemplative practices, such as yoga and mindfulness, as supporting a holistic approach to the development, learning and overall health of educating children. This research provides the framework for the overall teaching methodology of the Mindfulness through Movement program.
Research on school-based yoga and mindfulness programs suggests that incorporating such practices in a school environment provides several positive effects on student mental and physical health. (Butzer et al., 2016; Felver et al., 2015; Ferreira-Vorkapic et al., 2015; Khalsa & Butzer, 2016; Chung, 2018; Maynard et al., 2017; Serwacki & CooPk-Cottone, 2012; Zenner et al, 2014).
Some of these positive benefits include the following: has a positive impact on students’ academic performance (Anila et al., 2016; Butzer et al., 2015; Hagins and Rundle, 2016; Kauts & Sharma, 2009 Singh et al., 2016; Theirry et al., 2016; Wang & Hagins, 2016; Bennett & Dorjee, 2016);eases anxiety and tension (such as pre-test or performance anxieties) (Bellinger et al., 2015; Etherington & Costello, 2018; Frank et al., 2014; Noggle et al., 2012); reduces anger, depression, and fatigue (Felver et al., 2015; Sibinga et al., 2015; Malboeuf-Hurtbise et al., 2016; Sibinga et al., 2016); enhances focus, attention, concentration, comprehension and memory (Case-Smith et al., 2010; Ehud et al., 2010; Pradhan & Nagendra, 2010; Napoli et al., 2005; Manjunath & Telles, 2004; Wimmer et al., 2016; Quach et al., 2015; Mak et al., 2018; Tarrasch et al., 2018); builds resiliency and optimism (Jennings, P. A., Frank, J. L., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). Improving Classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4), 374–390.
Research by Syracuse University
Beginning in 2016, Syracuse University began a two-year research study to determine the impact of the Mindfulness through Movement Program on its student participants. The study showed positive improvement in the areas of self-regulation, self-compassion, and stress responses.
Mindfulness research studies of the impact of school-based programs indicate students are better able to manage their emotions, anger, frustrations, and intrusive thoughts. Students become more adept at postponing short term reactivity for longer term results. They are better able to keep their focus on the task at hand when their environment is attempting to pull their attention in different directions. Their empathetic awareness increases.
Among those students in the MTM Program who were tested, a significant percentage showed measurable improvement both in short term and long-term regulatory abilities as well as growth in their perspective taking abilities.
“With its first evaluation in 2016, the Mindfulness through Movement program was shown to significantly increase the short-term self-regulatory abilities of students who participated in the program for a consecutive two-year period. For first-year students, the program helped them maintain both the short-term and total regulatory abilities that they had been building year-round. Students who participated in the program during the 2016-2017 school year experienced a significant decrease in their maladaptive stress responses (e.g. emotional arousal & intrusive thoughts). Subsequent evaluations have shown that participating in the Mindfulness through Movement program may also lead to students experiencing growth in their perspective-taking abilities.”
Staceyann Reid, MS, CAS, NCC
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Human Development and Family Science
144 White Hall
Syracuse, New York 13244
The survey was repeated in 2018-19 with results suggesting that the program was beneficial in preventing significant increases in rumination and intrusive thoughts for students. The study was to be repeated again in 2019-2020, but due to the Covid-19 Pandemic was unable to be completed. A new survey is planned for the upcoming academic school year.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Recent studies have highlighted yoga’s cardiovascular benefits. In December 2014, research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology concluded that yoga may protect against heart disease. (Chu, Paula; Gotink, Rinske; Yeh, Gloria; J Goldie, Sue; and Hunink, Myriam. (2014). The effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 23. 10.1177/2047487314562741.) The research found that “yoga is linked to the reduction of key risk factors for heart disease, including lower body mass index (BMI), weight loss, improved cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and reduced heart rate.”