Transforming Education with Heart: The Manduka and Breathe For Change Partnership

Transforming Education with Heart: The Manduka and Breathe For Change Partnership

In a significant move that is positioned to reshape the future of education, Manduka has joined forces with Breathe For Change, an organization that's been revolutionizing the well-being of educators and schools nationwide. This partnership, driven by a shared vision of integrating wellness, yoga, and mindfulness into educational settings, marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards cultivating healthier school communities.

Manduka will support the Breathe For Change mission of supporting Yoga education and programming by providing funds and yoga mats for classrooms in the districts both Breathe for Change and Yoga Ed. activate globally. 

"We are delighted to partner with Breathe For Change and Yoga Ed.," said Pamela Levine, CEO at Manduka. "Their mission to bring Yoga as a vehicle for well-being in education aligns perfectly with our commitment to Inspiring the practice of yoga for all communities at any stage of life. To get kids on the mat early is the ultimate goal, creating a habit early that they can use for life. Equally, supporting the educators who lead these programs is what drives us each day - supporting those teachers that inspire!”.  


The Journey of Breathe For Change: From Classroom to Global Impact

The story of Breathe For Change started in the heart of a preschool classroom, where Ilana Nankin, an educator, faced the challenges of stress and burnout that have become synonymous with the teaching profession. Experiencing scant support within her school for her own wellness, Ilana turned to yoga, finding in the practice not just physical health improvements but more importantly strategies that immensely improved her quality of life and teaching effectiveness.

Driven by a desire to share her experience with other educators and transform the education system from within, Ilana embarked on a journey to earn her Ph.D., focusing her research on the critical connection between educator well-being and student learning. Her findings revealed the impact of educator stress on student outcomes and the profound benefits that enhancing teacher well-being could have on students' social-emotional and academic development.

In 2015, fueled by her research and personal experiences, Dr. Ilana Nankin founded Breathe For Change with Michael Fenchel. The organization's flagship program, a 200-hour wellness and yoga teacher training made by educators for educators, laid the groundwork for what would become a global movement, driven by the deep belief that educators matter and their well-being is fundamental.


Addressing the Challenges

Breathe For Change emerged in response to a concerning trend in education – a shift from human development and the social-emotional aspects of teaching and learning towards a more standardized, academic approach. This trend not only limited the development of critical human skills but also contributed to increased feelings of disconnection, loneliness, and mental health issues among students and educators. Breathe For Change's mission is to counteract these trends by reintroducing wellness, consciousness, and human connection into education, thereby empowering individuals to reach their fullest potential.

The efficacy of Breathe For Change's programs is supported by evidence. A study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed significant improvements in educators' overall well-being, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and their ability to support students' social-emotional learning as a result of their training. These improvements came hand-in-hand with a reduction in stress and burnout levels among educators, emphasizing the critical role of wellness practices in education.

Breathe For Change has collected extensive data from over 12,000 trainees, revealing the substantial impact of their training. Educators have reported enhanced overall well-being, improved emotional regulation, increased confidence in facilitating social-emotional learning, and a greater ability to create supportive learning environments. 

These outcomes not only benefit the educators themselves but also translate into a more conducive atmosphere for learning, ultimately decreased stress and burnout in the educational workforce, and increased academic performance.


The Story of Lapham Elementary School, a Community Transformed

The transformative power of Breathe For Change's work is demonstrated in the story of Lapham Elementary School in Madison, WI. Over the course of a summer, Lapham’s principal and teaching staff participated in Breathe For Change’s 200-hour training. During the next school year, the school witnessed a remarkable turnaround. Behavioral incidents drastically reduced, academic performance soared, and there was a notable increase in engagement among students, teachers, and families. At the end of the year, the school hosted a wellness day rally, drawing hundreds from the broader community, showcasing Lapham Elementary School as a leader in community well-being.

Manduka x Breathe For Change

Manduka's partnership with Breathe For Change is born out of a shared commitment to enhancing wellness in educational settings. Manduka's commitment goes beyond providing quality yoga mats; it's about supporting educators and students in creating a more mindful and supportive learning environment. This partnership is set to amplify the mission of bringing yoga and mindfulness into education, inviting more people to join this transformative movement. 

At its core, Breathe For Change is driven by a mission to enhance the collective well-being of educators, students, and communities. Its comprehensive trainings are designed to equip educators with the tools necessary for fostering social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and yoga practices in their classrooms and communities. As a leader in the yoga equipment industry, Manduka is committed to providing products that not only embody sustainable design and superior quality but also support the journey towards a more mindful and positive world.

The partnership between Manduka and Breathe For Change is a testament to the shared dedication of both organizations to improving wellness and social-emotional learning in schools. This collaboration is marked by significant initiatives like Manduka's donation of yoga mats to educators and schools, contributing to Breathe For Change's scholarship fund, and a pledge to donate a portion of proceeds on Giving Tuesday. These contributions help to support significant strides towards a healthier, more connected world by integrating wellness practices into the very fabric of educational institutions.

For the dedicated practitioners within Manduka’s community, this partnership also offers an exciting opportunity to be part of a meaningful change in education. It's a call to those who know the value of these practices to transform educational systems.


Looking ahead, Breathe For Change is committed to expanding its reach and deepening its impact. With aspirations to become an accredited institution, the organization aims to offer higher education certificates and degrees, broadening the scope of its transformative training. Having already certified approximately 15,000 educators nationwide, the goal is to extend this empowerment to over 100,000 educators globally.

A Partnership with Purpose

The union of Manduka and Breathe For Change represents more than a mere partnership; it embodies a unified path towards transforming communities through yoga. Through their combined efforts, they aim to create spaces where educators and students can thrive, in mind, body, and connection. This collaboration sets a precedent for how organizations can come together to affect meaningful change, paving the way for a future where education is synonymous with human development and well-being.

As a special celebration of Giving Tuesday, Manduka is donating 10% of all sales to Breathe For Change which will provide yoga mats and Breathe For Change training scholarships to more educators and schools across the country.

Learn more about Breathe For Change: Website | Instagram | YouTube



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