Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Mindfulness Studies

First Advisor

Melissa Jean

Second Advisor

Andrew Olendzki


During the COVID-19 health crisis, facilitators of Mindfulness-Based Programs were prompted to provide virtual options for navigating stressors. In response, I developed a program that integrated embodied mindfulness and Polyvagal Theory to support healthcare students and professors in higher education. This rationale paper defines embodiment and explains how embodied mindfulness through a Polyvagal lens can be used to provide safer options for practitioners and people experiencing high stress. The program highlights awareness of the physiological state as primary, offering opportunities to create autonomic flexibility and self-regulation through vagal toning already embedded in some contemplative practices. This awareness may offer practitioners opportunities to effectively navigate adverse meditation experiences and help healthcare and other at-risk populations combat stress, burnout, and isolation from pandemic circumstances. The creative thesis presentation details the curriculum overview, planning, and delivery process.