Breathe For Change draws upon and contributes to a growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of mind-body wellness practices and social-emotional development for individuals, relationships, and communities.
Enhancing the physical, mental, and social-emotional well-being of individuals has been shown to have positive impact on their entire communities. In the context of education, prioritizing teacher well-being enhances teaching and learning, which leads to improvements in students’ social-emotional and academic outcomes.
Our ongoing research within the field of education further demonstrates the critical connection between educator well-being and effective teaching. In particular, there is a direct correlation between teachers’ stress and burnout levels and their ability to teach for social justice, cultivate positive classroom learning environments, and meaningfully engage all members of the school community.
Our movement was inspired by our founder Dr. Ilana Nankin's dissertation, entitled "Breathe For Change: Changing the World, One Teacher at a Time," which illuminated the critical connection between teacher well-being and effective teaching. Ilana received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Education in May of 2016.
Research on Breathe For Change Trainings
Qualitative and quantitative research on Breathe For Change trainings demonstrates significant enhancements for educators in:
- Physical well-being
- Emotional well-being
- Commitment to self-care
- Job satisfaction
- Ability to remain calm and present in the classroom
Average score for physical well-being after training increased by 2.19 points on a 10 point scale, and 80% of trainees reported at least a 10% improvement in their physical well-being.
I left transformed, grounded, and literally breathing deeper. I was challenged to be physically strong, and I came out bionic- doing a headstand! I was challenged to trust and my heart opened completely through thoughtful exercises. I wanted to gain hope for the teaching world, and I now feel I am a source for hope and inspiration by using the tools and practices gained in the training. The many friends I made and the community as a whole is rare and beautiful. Breathe For Change empowered me to empower others. I feel so free. Thank you ad infinitum.
-- Natalie Baird, Teacher, San Francisco
Average score for emotional well-being after training increased by 2.55 points on a 10 point scale, and 87% of trainees reported at least a 10% improvement in their emotional well-being.
"Breathe For Change is food for the teacher's soul. The program provides so much more than yoga training. It truly is a journey for the spirit. I am now so much more in touch with my emotions, my intentions for the school year, and my own needs regarding self-care. Thank you for getting me back on track and for inspiring me to bring these gifts to my school."
-- Erica, Bay Area Educator
Commitment to self-care
Average score for an individual's commitment to self-care after training increased by 1.81 points on a 10 point scale, and 63% reported having at least 10% more commitment to self-care after the training.
B4C gave me so many tools and helped understand the many different ways in which I can take care of myself even with a busy schedule. I think being able to experience how it feels to take care of myself helped be committed about improving my well-being. Also, the fact that I'll continue to be in contact with B4C and that they will continue to support me, is so beneficial because it gives me a sense of accountability and empowerment through this journey.
-- Rosalia Gittens, Elementary School Teacher, Madison
Average score for an individual's satisfaction with their job after training increased by 1.38 points on a 10 point scale, and 71% of trainees reported at least a 10% improvement in their job satisfaction.
"If you could do one thing that will help you not only be a better teacher, but also a better human, wouldn't you do it? Breathe for Change is that thing- I promise you it is. Take some time for yourself to learn, to grow, to be inspired. The best teachers are passionate, exhilarated, and joyful-- and Breathe For Change will help you get in touch with the amazing teacher in you."
-- Serena, Assistant Principal, New York
Ability to remain calm and present during teaching
Average score for an individual to remain calm and present in their teaching after training increased by 2.42 points on a 10 point scale, and 81% of trainees reported at least a 10% improvement after the training.
"Breathe For Change has been the most positive professional development experience in my 24 years of teaching. Breathe For Change recognizes that supporting the well-being of educators in turn supports the well-being, and ultimately, the achievement of our students."
-- Rachel, Wisconsin, Elementary School Educator
Research on Mind-Body Wellness Practices
Breathe For Change also draws upon the growing body of research linking mind-body wellness practices such as mindfulness and yoga to stress reduction, enhanced executive function, and increased emotional regulation. Executive function, which encompasses working memory and higher order thinking tasks, can be disrupted due to emotional dysregulation. Mindfulness promotes our ability to regulate emotion, which is key to coming back into control when strong emotions arise.1 In situations where children are stressed or experiencing anxiety, learning is difficult, if not impossible.2
Studies have also addressed the problem of teacher stress and burnout, which impacts how teachers are able to create classroom climate that “fosters student learning and social-emotional well-being.” In another study, modified yoga training was used as a way to increase teachers’ ability to manage stress, which impacts their ability to promote healthy classroom environment. In turn, they saw more effective teaching behavior, reduced symptoms of burnout, increased awareness, and reduced emotional exhaustion.3 Additional studies have shown that socially-emotionally competent teachers are better able to foster healthy relationships with students and classroom environment.4 Other general benefits of meditation include improved attention, concentration, creativity, emotional intelligence.5