New mindfulness and yoga program seeks volunteers for stress reduction study

Yoga Mastery Institute’s study offers free lessons to first 150 participants

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah—The Yoga Mastery Institute (YMI) is calling for 150 volunteers to participate at no cost in their innovative movement and mindfulness program. The program aims to gauge its scientific effectiveness in stress reduction. This announcement is part of a broader initiative to enhance the understanding of how structured yoga and mindfulness practices can influence mental and physical health.

Program Structure and Aims

The YMI program integrates a step-by-step curriculum with elements akin to martial arts, including tiered ribbon levels that mark progression. Melissa Garland, the program’s co-creator, highlighted its effectiveness, noting significant improvements in participants’ flexibility, balance, and strength. Preliminary data from the program, which began in October 2023, indicate an increase of 43% in flexibility, 103% in balance, and 76% in strength among participants.

Unexpected Benefits and Stress Reduction

Beyond physical benefits, participants have reported substantial reductions in stress and anxiety. According to Garland, within three weeks, individuals felt markedly less anxious and better equipped to handle daily stressors. “Our original intention was to serve the very large audience of people who know they want to do yoga but struggle to keep up with most yoga-fitness classes,” said Garland. “The program is accomplishing this with a powerful and unexpected side-benefit: significant stress reduction.”

This unexpected benefit has propelled YMI to expand their data collection efforts through “The FIRST 150” project, aiming to validate these findings and potentially adjust the program for broader application outside traditional yoga studios.

Participation Details

The initiative offers four weeks of lessons (eight in total), with sessions held twice weekly across six different schedules. The program is set to commence the week of April 29, with flexibility for later starts. Interested individuals are urged to register quickly due to the limited capacity of 25 students per class. Data collected from this endeavor will be used in an anonymized format to analyze the program’s impact comprehensively.

For more information or to register, visit

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