Graduation Date

5-2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Second Reader

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

Abstract

Traditionally, students in an elementary class are either disengaged or distracted from their classmates. The problem involves behavior and emotional disturbances that are often accelerated by external influences. The purpose of this research is to explore the use of yoga as an approach to reducing stress, increasing self-confidence and reducing negative behavior in a fifth grade class. A review of the literature revealed that students can ultimately improve behavioral management skills when given specific learning tools. Fifth grade students in a suburban elementary school participated in a weekly yoga practice intervention over a 4-week period of time. Students participated in a 60-minute mindful practice which included breathing practice, yoga poses, meditation and relaxation techniques. This is a teacher action research project that involved a mixed methods approach. Quantitative inquiries measured behaviors before and after implementation of the yoga program. Qualitative documentation included teacher notes, student responses to focus group questions and researcher observation. Although no obvious behavioral changes were recorded, results indicated observable changes in strength, balance, and endurance by some students which may explain their increased self-esteem and self-regulation. Noticeable changes in focus, concentration and attention were recorded for a few students. The directing teacher’s final comments highlighted students’ stronger social connections with peers as they learned breathing techniques and how to use their energy more effectively.

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