Yoga, Meditation Helping Students in South Dallas Schools

Children in South Dallas are learning about a subject you typically don't see in the classroom: yoga and mindfulness!

The Dallas Yoga Center recently started sharing mindfulness training with third, fourth and fifth graders in five Dallas ISD schools, mostly in South Dallas.

"The goal is to improve school performance and emotional well-being," said Jamila Thomas, coordinator for the African American Success Initiative.

"I received a few phone calls from principals, saying they needed additional support with respect to students who said they were having an issue controlling their emotions," Thomas said.

She says she did online research and saw how yoga programs helped students in Baltimore and reached out to the Dallas Yoga Center for a similar program.

"The students are responding!" Thomas said.

According to research, mindfulness can impact focus, emotional well-being and other items, including reduced anxiety and increased compassion.

"Meditation and yoga change the areas of the brain that are involved in memory and attention and so, these are the areas that are developing the most in kids," said Dr. Julia Evans, neuroscientist at the Callier Center at University of Texas in Dallas.

"We know that the more stressed a child is, the more it affects their ability to focus and attend," said Evans.

Thomas and school staff members will study detention rates and students' grades to determine success, but says teachers say they've already seen a positive change in their students.

"Bottom line is the increase of academic achievement by helping students be mindful," said Thomas.

The Dallas ISD produced a piece on the project here.

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