Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Scotney Evans

Second Committee Member

Lydia Buki

Third Committee Member

Lissette Perez-Lima

Fourth Committee Member

David Lee


The standard approach to ameliorating mental health difficulties in the United States may not be effective for racial and ethnic minority populations, as these individuals are more likely than non-Latino/a White individuals to prematurely withdraw from mental health services (Chow, Jaffee, & Snowden, 2003; Miranda, Azocar, Organista, Dwyer, & Arean, 2003). Yoga may be a viable intervention to address the large disparity in mental health services provided to these populations, as it is effective in ameliorating mental health difficulties across racial and ethnic populations and can be practiced in the non-medical settings. However, research suggests that racial and ethnic minority groups are significantly less likely than non-minority groups to practice yoga (Olano, Kachan, Tannenbaum, Mehta, Annane, & Lee, 2015). To elucidate underlying factors influencing the gap in yoga practice between racial and ethnic minorities and non-Latino/a White individuals, I utilized a convergent parallel mixed method design to examine holistic beliefs, beliefs about yoga, knowledge of yoga, and barriers to yoga across racial and ethnic populations. The results reflect the responses of 458 participants recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk and 16 individuals recruited locally for individual interviews. The results indicate that individuals across racial and ethnic groups generally maintain favorable beliefs about yoga and that the discrepancy in yoga practice could be better explained by barriers to yoga experienced by racial and ethnic minority groups. Limitations in knowledge of yoga, exposure to yoga, access to yoga, and contextual resources as well as apprehension to yoga culture emerged as important barriers to yoga practice. Research and clinical implications are discussed.


yoga; complementary and alternative medicine; discrepancy in yoga practice; racial and ethnic minority yoga; mental health disparities; mental health treatment disparities