The association of trait mindfulness with emotional well-being has been found to be mediated by executive functioning. However, there is little empirical evidence on this process in adolescents. Therefore, this study tested these associations using an adolescent sample participating in a physical education yoga class. This study extended previous research by also including self-compassion and state mindfulness in addition to trait mindfulness. A prospective design employed a pilot yoga curriculum in a high school physical education class. Adolescents (N = 20) completed assessments of trait mindfulness and self-compassion at baseline, state mindfulness experienced during yoga classes over the 12 week physical education yoga class, and six indices of executive functioning and stress at the end of the 12 weeks. Path analysis was used to test the process model found by Short with the extensions of self-compassion and state mindfulness. Self-compassion directly predicted problems with activity level impulse control and indirectly predicted stress. When self-compassion did not predict specific executive functioning indicators, state mindfulness experienced in yoga predicted stress. This study contributes preliminary evidence that suggests further research into the unique effects of trait and state mindfulness as well as self-compassion on adolescent cognitive and affective outcomes. Results support the use of contemplative practices, such as yoga, in adolescent physical education as a strategy to boost emotion regulation processes.
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