Educators are turning yoga into a vehicle for school and community change

After years of turbulent teaching during the epidemic, some educators are launching a unique approach to social and psychological education (SEL) training this summer: they are pursuing a virtual wellness, SEL and yoga training course.

Graduates of the Breath for Change 200-hour program will be certified to teach inclusive yoga classes to both adults and young people and to lead SEL and wellness experiences in their schools, districts and organizations.

“Our whole approach is a community-wide wellness approach – home-school connectivity is deeply important,” said Dr. Ilana Nankin, founder and CEO of Breath for Change.

The Certification Program is specifically designed for educators who can use their SEL and yoga instruction in Teacher Mars and Student SEL.

Nankin, a former pre-school teacher, said teachers were stressed, overwhelmed and overworked before the epidemic escalated, which led him to focus on his research. When Nankin used his research and teaching experiences to create Breath for Change in 2015, program participants saw transformation among their students, not only from a SEL perspective, but also from an academic perspective.

It reveals “how strong the practice of SEL and wellness can be for students’ lives in school and in an educational context,” he said. “So, as educators, how do we use wellness, SEL, yoga and mindfulness as a vehicle for healing and social change in our entire community?”

Laura Assion
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