But isn't yoga just for middle-aged housewives? No.

Yoga and mindfulness practices and skills are NOT a luxury for the few who can afford them - they have been scientifically proven to help improve the lives of underprivileged or at-risk populations.

School-age children report much stress in their daily lives, which may lead to psychological and physical problems. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction is a program of awareness-based practices effective with adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of mindfulness training through yoga with school-age girls to reduce perceived stress, enhance coping abilities, self-esteem, and self-regulation, and explore the relationship between the dose of the intervention and outcomes. 

RESULTS: Self-esteem and self-regulation increased at a higher rate, as compared with a control group.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, homeless youth have higher rates of mood disorders, suicide attempts, conduct disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. “These youth have not had the parenting, support and guidance needed to thrive and, as a result, are often dealing with high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and trauma that negatively affects them on all levels: mentally, emotionally and physically,” Fein said.

“The yoga and mindfulness teachings and practices that are taught throughout the program help youth gain insight into unconscious, unhelpful patterns of thinking, cultivate positive thoughts and emotions, and reduce unhealthy and destructive behavior,” he added. “They develop the capacity to witness and respond with awareness to situations and circumstances that arise, rather than react blindly to them. This, in turn, supports youth in developing a greater capacity to manage emotions and curb impulsive and addictive tendencies while building healthy habits.”

“Participants over time started reporting their progress,” she said about the program that ran about five years. Some people reported that their doctors had lowered the dosage of medication they were on, and some said they had met goals that resulted in them moving into permanent housing, she said."

This study used participant/observation and open-ended interviews to understand how male participants (age 18-24 years) benefited from yoga and mindfulness training within an Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) program. Findings suggest that the male participants (age 18-24 years) benefited from the intervention through reductions in stress and improvements in emotion regulation. Several participants noted the importance of the development of an embodied practice for assisting them in managing anger and impulse control.

"Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness provide helpful tools for addiction recovery(link is external). Yoga combines both exercise and mindfulness (the practice of ”non-judgmental attention to experience" in the present moment). Moderate to high intensity physical exercise,  including mind-body practices, have been shown to improve attainment of sobriety as well as to reduce anxiety and depression — symptoms that often trigger relapse."

"Among veterans of post-9/11 conflicts, estimates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) range from 9% shortly after returning from deployment to 31% a year after deployment...Participants were 18 yr of age or older and veterans of post-9/11 conflicts. They had subthreshold or diagnostic-level PTSD related to their combat military service..Decreased PTSD symptomatology was demonstrated in the three-symptom clusters represented in the PCL-M (i.e., hyperarousal, re-experiencing, and avoidance). In addition, the total score on the PCL-M decreased significantly, by both statistical and clinical measures. The participants also demonstrated improved mindfulness scores and reported decreased insomnia, depression, and anxiety symptoms."