Second Major

Human Development and Family Studies (including Early Childhood Education)


Paul Bueno de Mesquita

Advisor Department





Yoga; Stress; Anxiety; Inner Peace


Modern life can create the conditions for increased levels of stress and anxiety. This is particularly true for college students who experience a lot of changes and pressures regarding academics, romantic relationships, friendships, and career plans. More and more people are turning to alternative ways of relieving their stress and anxiety. One of the most popular approaches is yoga. The definition used is this: yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline that focuses on breath control, meditation, and specific body postures, and is widely practiced for physical and spiritual health, as well as relaxation. Yoga uses a holistic way of thinking, meaning that the mind and body are connected as one. Yoga is often seen as a way to practice self-awareness, achieve higher consciousness, and often lead to internal peace. Some practices that are related to yoga are meditation and mindfulness. The question proposed here is what does practicing yoga look like and is it effective in reducing stress and anxiety? Also, does the experience of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness help create inner peace? A review of the history and development of yoga was done. In addition, a review of the research literature on the benefits of yoga was done. Through this research, it was found that there are many benefits to the practice, including reducing stress and anxiety. In order to further answer these questions, a single subject case study approach was employed using a participant observer method. I took yoga classes to verify these benefits first hand and undertook a personal journey into the culture and practice of yoga. Before and after self-assessments were recorded to help document the results of these experiences. An in-depth description of the experiences and the benefits will be presented along with some suggestions for a helpful way to practice yoga.