Jacobs Journal of Yoga and Natural Medicine

Bridging the Campus/Community Divide through Yoga: Surveying Student Experiences Delivering a Yoga-Based Classroom Intervention

Published on: 2018-10-23

Abstract

Borne of a campus-community partnership formed to bring needed health and wellness initiatives from the campus to an adjacent inner-city, low socioeconomic status (SES) community, the overall aim of this study was to explore if yoga could serve as a point of connection between college students engaging in service learning and elementary students attending a local public school. An 8-week yoga program was designed to facilitate boundary crossing for the college and elementary students who live in close proximity yet in stark contrast to one another. Study objectives were twofold: 1. To enlarge college students’ awareness of the way in which stresses associated with low SES may impact classroom learning ; and 2. To expose college students to an innovative yoga-based stress reduction intervention, designed for classroom delivery, to reduce stress and develop coping skills for inner-city, low-SES elementary students. Qualitative pre-/post-intervention surveys revealed that the college students (n = 25) involved in the campus-community partnership felt that they had learned coping mechanisms from the inner-city 2nd graders (n = 78) they were to be “serving.” In addition, working with the 2nd graders sparked a passionate interest within many of the college students for future work with economically disadvantaged youth. This project utilized yoga as a neutral point of connection and inspired a diverse group of undergraduates in unforeseen ways that consequently proved to be on the cutting edge of service-learning pedagogy. It is a model that could benefit other universities engaging in campus-community partnerships.

Keywords

Yoga, Service Learning, Inner City, Stress Reduction Programming, Elementary Students, College Students