Basic sciences in higher education confront a paradox, reaching the minds of many and the hearts of few. Compulsory requirements for graduation or professional schools push a high course demand, large classes, and a culture of Darwinian grading that contribute to student performance anxiety, fear of failure, intellectual disengagement, and a test-driven approach to content. A professor specializing in stress who teaches a large requirement-fulfilling undergraduate human biology course partnered with a yoga-adept graduate student to implement a class redesigned so as to mitigate stress triggers and engage students with course content through their own embodied experience. Construction of class dynamics and five week-long explorations aimed to cultivate a mindful approach to human biology and its connection to lived experience through kinesthetics, breath, emotions, sleep, and nutrition. We report qualitative and quantitative student performance outcomes.

Carol Worthman, PhD

Emory University


Carol Worthman is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology at Emory University (Atlanta), where she also directs the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology. After taking a dual undergraduate degree … MORE