MyPath50: Mindfulness to Strengthen Agencies and Systems

It’s that 50. It's the middle before going to 0-100. Where you get to decide what you want to do. It means thinking before you react to something. Not letting your emotions get the best of you, practicing that and making it a skill that you could practice throughout life.
-Mindfulness and Yoga Peer Ambassador


In 2018, Drs. Robin Petering and Nicholas Barr developed MyPath, a peer-based social network intervention designed to reduce experiences of violence communities of young people experiencing homelessness. MyPath partners with non-profits and service agencies to empower young people to become Mindfulness and Yoga Peer Ambassadors who then promote non-violence to their friends and family through the use of inclusive mindfulness and yoga-based tools designed to enhance self-regulation. The MyPath program identifies and recruits a cohort of ambassadors to participate in an intensive 3-hour mindfulness and yoga retreat that identifies causes and consequences of violence, describes physiological and psychological processes associated with violence, and explores the impact of mindfulness and yoga-based skills for reducing violence. The retreat is followed by weekly 1-hour trainer-facilitated mindfulness and yoga classes that are open to peers in ambassadors’ social networks. The MyPath pilot study was implemented in partnership with Safe Place for Youth (SPY) and trained eight Mindfulness and Yoga Peer Ambassadors. Six weeks after the introduction of the MyPath programming, the number of young people involved in physical fights dropped by 40%. Additionally, here was an 85% increase in the number of individuals who practiced regular mindfulness and yoga. These changes were maintained at three-month follow-up.

Drs. Petering and Barr believe that increasing group-level mindfulness connected to self-regulation skills has impacts beyond interpersonal violence. That’s why they have developed the MyPath50 Workshop, which is designed for individuals and agencies to learn, through experiential practice, how strategic and intentional mindfulness practice can strengthen systems, reduce barriers, and improve outcomes. The 3-hour MyPath50 workshop will include:

  • A presentation of the causes and consequences of violence within communities of individuals experiencing homelessness including results from most recent research.

  • A discussion of how violence engagement is related to self and emotion-regulation, trauma, and cumulative stress burden, including the biological and physiological causes of violence and in the context of sympathetic nervous system activation and neural processing.

  • An introduction of mindfulness awareness to reduce violence engagement through the introduction of mindfulness and yoga (i.e.  mindfulness in motion) practices.

  • Experiential practices of inclusive and accessible mindfulness and yoga.

Our aim is to equip you and your agency with a deeper understanding of violence within homeless communities while simultaneously introducing innovative strategies to reduce violence and its impact. For more information about MyPath50, please email

Relevant publications:

[1] Ajitesh Srivastava, Robin Petering, Rajgopal Kannan, Eric Rice, and Viktor K. Prasanna. “How to Stop Violence Among Homeless: Extension of Voter Model and Intervention Strategies.” In 2018 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), pp. 83-86. IEEE, 2018.

[2] Robin Petering, Nicholas Barr, and Eric Rice. “Can better emotion regulation protect against interpersonal violence in homeless youth social networks?.” Journal of interpersonal violence (2018): 0886260518804183.

[3] Yoga and Mindfulness as an Intervention Strategy for Homeless Youth

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