Mindfulness and Yoga

Contemporary Behavior Therapy





Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, Counseling


More recently, counselors have been interested in mindfulness meditation and yoga practices. Although these practices may seem unconventional or alternative in some cultures, they actually fall under the umbrella of behavior therapy. Given the emphasis on skill building in behavior therapy, minfulness and yoga fit the the goal of reducingin distressing symptoms. To better understand these practices within the behavior therapy lens, this article reviews research concerning these interventions. Before synthesizing current trends in mindfulness meditation and yoga practices across contexts, we summarize the foundations and history of behavior therapy. Yoga, or physical activity, seems to be a great complement to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy, as well as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness-based approaches are effective in reducing depressive symptoms, anxiety, dysphoria, burnout, and rumination. Furthermore, these interventions support the social and emotional skills associated with self-regulation. Of course, the therapy chosen depends on the client’s goals and the therapist’s training experience. If the client wants these outcomes and is open to mediation and yoga, a counselor trained in these modalities should not hesitate to implement this facet of behavior therapy. Implications for helping clients increase wellbeing through skill building are offerred.


Adams, K. S., & Branscome, J. M. (2020). Emotional dysregulation and anxiety in students: Mindfulness strategies for school

counselors. Georgia School Counselors Association Journal, 27, 7-17. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1278249

Antony, M. M. (2019). Behavior therapy. In D. Wedding & R. J. Corsini (Eds.), Current Psychotherapies (11th ed., pp. 199-

. Cengage Learning.

Bandura, A. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis. Prentice-Hall.

Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American Psychologist, 44(9), 1175. https://doi.


Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision

Processes, 50(2), 248-287. https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-5978(91)90022-L

Bandura, A., & Walters, R. H. (1977). Social learning theory (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-hall.

Bamber, M. D., & Schneider, J. K. (2022). College students’ perceptions of mindfulness-based interventions: A narrative

review of the qualitative research. Current Psychology, 41(2), 667-680. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00592-4

Bazzano, A. N., Anderson, C. E., Hylton, C., & Gustat, J. (2018). Effect of mindfulness and yoga on quality of life for

elementary school students and teachers: Results of a randomized controlled school-based study. Psychology Research

and Behavior Management, 11, 81. htttp://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S157503

Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive therapy and emotional disorders. New American Library.

Brooks, J., Lawlor, S., Turetzkin, S., Goodnight, C. W., & Galantino, M. L. (2021). Yoga for substance use disorder in women:

A systematic review. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 31(1). https://doi.org/10.17761/2021-D-20-00008

Chimiklis, A. L., Dahl, V., Spears, A. P., Goss, K., Fogarty, K., & Chacko, A. (2018). Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation

interventions for youth with ADHD: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(10),

-3168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1148-7

Clarke, B. J., & Hartley, M. T. (2023). The mediating role of mindfulness on stress and counseling self‐efficacy. Counselor

Education and Supervision. https://doi.org/10.1002/ceas.12278

Corey, G. (2023). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. (11th ed.) Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Farhang, M., Rojas, G., Martínez, P., Behrens, M. I., Langer, Á. I., Diaz, M., & Miranda-Castillo, C. (2022). The Impact

of a yoga-based mindfulness intervention versus psycho-educational session for older adults with mild cognitive

impairment: The protocol of a randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public

Health, 19(22), 15374. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215374

Galantino, M. L., Turetzkin, S., Lawlor, S., Jones, L., & Brooks, J. C. (2021). Community-based yoga for women undergoing

substance use disorder treatment: A descriptive study. International Journal of Yoga, 14(1), 50. https://doi.


Germer, C. K. (2013). Mindfulness: What is it? What does it matter? In C. K. Germer, R. D. Siegel, & P. R. Fulton (Eds.),

Mindfulness and psychotherapy (pp. 3–35). The Guilford Press.

Goldberg, S. B., Tucker, R. P., Greene, P. A., Davidson, R. J., Wampold, B. E., Kearney, D. J., Simpson, T. L. (2018).

Mindfulness-based interventions for psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology

Review, 59, 52-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2017.10.011.

Grensman, A., Acharya, B. D., Wändell, P., Nilsson, G. H., Falkenberg, T., Sundin, Ö., & Werner, S. (2018). Effect of

traditional yoga, mindfulness–based cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, on health related quality of

life: A randomized controlled trial on patients on sick leave because of burnout. BMC Complementary and Alternative

Medicine, 18(1), 80. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-018-2141-9

Harris, A. R., Jennings, P. A., Katz, D. A., Abenavoli, R. M., & Greenberg, M. T. (2016). Promoting stress management and

wellbeing in educators: Feasibility and efficacy of a school-based yoga and mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness, 7(1),

-154. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0451-2

Hayes, S. C. & Lillis, J. (2012). Acceptance and commitment therapy. American Psychological Association.

Hazlett-Stevens, H., & Craske, M. G. (2008). Live (in vivo) exposure. In W. O’Donohue & J. E. Fisher (Eds.) Cognitive

behavior therapy: Applying empirically supported techniques in your practice (2nd ed., pp. 309-316). Wiley.

Henretty, J. R., Currier, J. M., Berman, J. S., & Levitt, H. M. (2014). The impact of counselor self-disclosure on clients: A

meta-analytic review of experimental and quasi-experimental research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61(2), 191.


Herbert, J. D. & Foreman, E. M. (2011). Acceptance and mindfulness in cognitive behavioral therapy: Understanding and

applying new therapies. Wiley.

Hunt, M., Al-Braiki, F., Dailey, S., Russell, R., & Simon, K. (2018). Mindfulness training, yoga, or both? Dismantling the

active components of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention. Mindfulness, 9(2), 512-520. https://doi.


Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and

Practice, 10(2), 144-156.

Khunti, K., Boniface, S., Norris, E., De Oliveira, C., & Shelton, N. (2023). The effects of yoga on mental health in schoolage

children: A systematic review and narrative synthesis of randomized control trials. Clinical Child Psychology and

Psychiatry, 28(3), 1217-1238. https://doi.org/10.1177/13591045221136016

Laxman, K. (2022). Socio‐emotional well‐being benefits of yoga for atypically developing children. Journal of Research in

Special Educational Needs, 22(2), 158-166. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12556

Lehrhaupt, L. & Meibert, P. (2017). Mindfulness based stress resduction: The MBSR program for enhancing health and

vitality. New World Library.

Lennox, D. B., & Miltenberger, R. G. (1989). Conducting a functional assessment of problem behavior in applied

settings. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 14(4), 304-311. https://doi.


Liu, W., Liu, J., Ma, L., & Chen, J. (2022). Effects of mindfulness yoga on anxiety and depression in early breast cancer

patients received adjuvant chemotherapy: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical

Oncology, 148, 2549-2560. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-022-04167-y

Merrill, A. K., & Strauman, J. T. (2004). The role of personality in cognitive-behavioral therapies. ScienceDirect Behavior

Therapy 35(1), 131–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80008-X.

Murray, A., Marenus, M., Cahuas, A., Friedman, K., Ottensoser, H., Kumaravel, V., ... & Chen, W. (2022). The impact of

web-based physical activity interventions on depression and anxiety among college students: Randomized experimental

trial. JMIR Formative Research, 6(4), e31839. https://doi.org/10.2196/31839

Petker, T., Yanke, C., Rahman, L., Whalen, L., Demaline, K., Whitelaw, K., Bang, D., Holshausen, K., Amlung, M., & MacKillop, J. (2021). Naturalistic evaluation of an adjunctive yoga program for women with substance use disorders

in inpatient treatment: Within-treatment effects on cravings, self-efficacy, psychiatric symptoms, impulsivity, and

mindfulness. Substance Abuse: Research & Treatment, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1177/11782218211026651

Ramos, M. C., Macphee, F. L., Merrill, B. M., Altszuler, A. R., Raiker, J. S., Gnagy, E. M., ... & Pelham Jr, W. E. (2022).

Mindfulness as an adjunct to behavior modification for elementary-aged children with ADHD. Research on Child and

Adolescent Psychopathology, 50(12), 1573-1588. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-022-00947-9

Sanchez, B., Allen, D., & Delgado, J. (2023). Positive psychological effects of school-based yoga and mindfulness programs

for at-risk hispanic adolescents. Contemporary School Psychology, 27, 118-135. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-022-


Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2013). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression (2nd ed.).

Guilford Press.

Shapiro, F. & Solomon, R. (2015). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. In E. Neukrug (Ed.), SAGE

encyclopedia of theory in counseling and psychotherapy (vol. 1, pp. 388-394). SAGE.

Schuver, K. J., & Lewis, B. A. (2016). Mindfulness-based yoga intervention for women with depression. Complementary

Therapies in Medicine, 26, 85-91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.003

Semple, R. J., Droutman, V., & Reid, B. A. (2017). Mindfulness goes to school: Things learned (so far) from research and realworld

experiences. Psychology in the Schools, 54(1), 29-52. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.21981

Semple, R. J. (2019). Yoga and mindfulness for youth with autism spectrum disorder: Review of the current evidence. Child

and Adolescent Mental Health, 24(1), 12-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/camh.12295

Skinner, B. F. (1988). The operant side of behavior therapy. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 19(3),

-179. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7916(88)90038-9

Spiegler, M. D. (2019). Contemporary behavior therapy (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Sue, D. W., Sue, D., Neville, H. A., & Smith, L. (2022). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. John Wiley &


Taylor, J., McLean, L., Korner, A., Stratton, E., & Glozier, N. (2020). Mindfulness and yoga for psychological trauma:

Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 21(5), 536-573. https://doi.org/10.1080/15299


Ziomek-Daigle, J., & Oliphant, T. (2017). Strategies, approaches, and evidence-based practices. In J. Ziomek-Daigle (Ed.),

Counseling children and adolescents: Working in school and clinical mental health settings (pp. 448-477). New York,

NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.




How to Cite

Arrastia-Chisholm, M., Adams, K. S., Cakmakci, H., & Cunningham, T. (2024). Mindfulness and Yoga: Contemporary Behavior Therapy . International Journal of Positivity & Well-Being, 2(1), 46–57. https://doi.org/10.61518/ijpw-34