EdCuration Blog: Learning in Action

The Power of Breathwork in Schools: Combatting Educator Stress

Jan 3, 2023 1:57:07 PM / by EdCuration Staff Writer

EdCuration Blog-Jan-03-2023-08-26-55-8367-PM

Need to Know

  • Breathwork is a highly effective tool to bring down stress levels, hone mental clarity, and improve bodily system functioning. 
  • Incorporating breathwork into schools and in work with educators has the potential to transform individual and collective wellness for students, teachers, and administrators.

A Closer Look

Educators are under an immense amount of stress, especially now. Regardless,they continue to show up day in and day out to selflessly serve students rebounding from pandemic-related learning loss. We’re all asking what can be done to bring stress levels down for educators, prevent burnout and midyear resignations, and simultaneously create healthier learning environments? 

The answer: harness the power of breath.

Multiple studies have compared the effectiveness of breathwork (in particular, SKY Breath Meditation) with other interventions like mindfulness, emotional intelligence techniques, and cognitive strategies. Time and again, research participants experienced better mental health, stronger social connection, more positive emotions, decreased stress levels, and improved mood with SKY Breath Meditation. Participants even sustained those positive effects in the weeks and months after the studies concluded.

What makes breathwork so powerful? 

While in a state of stress, your prefrontal cortex (or the “wizard” brain that controls rational thought) is impaired and instead your amygdala (or the “lizard” brain that controls emotions like fear and stress) takes over and triggers short, fast, and shallow breathing. When that happens, it’s pretty difficult to reason your way out of stress. Instead, to return to a state of calm quickly, changing the speed and depth of your breath stimulates the vagus nerve, sending a relaxation signal to the body. As your body calms, your heart rate lowers, your cortisol levels decrease, and the brain can think rationally again.


Why Breathwork in Schools?

With limited time and money, schools need cost-effective, time-efficient solutions to combat educator burnout and support overall well-being. Yet many educational leaders discount and disregard this priceless (and free!) wellness tool, missing out on the countless benefits of breathwork. Research-based and expert-led breathwork curriculum and programs like SKY Schools are a proven solution for schools, administrators, and educators looking to improve the emotional and mental wellness of their students and teachers. Read on for three practical breathing techniques to add to your toolkit.


3 Breathing Techniques Proven to Reduce Stress*

Breathing Technique #1: Straw breathing (video tutorial)


  • Quickly reduces anxiety and panic
  • Increases feelings of calm and relaxation
  • Improves clearer thinking
  • Strengthens lungs

Technique How-To

  1. Sit with a straight back and relax your face, neck and shoulders.
  2. Fully inhale through the nose, then either with a straw or with pursed lips in the shape of sipping through a straw, exhale fully and gently.
  3. Focus on breathing into your abdomen, causing your abdomen to rise and fall gently with the breath.
  4. Add some counts to your breath. Try inhaling for 4 and exhaling for 6. 
  5. Continue this pattern for about 5 minutes.

Breathing Technique #2: Alternate nostril breathing (video tutorial)


  • Calms the mind
  • Improves circulatory and respiratory function
  • Relieves stress
  • Regulates the nervous system
  • Helps to lower blood pressure

Technique How-To

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight back, relaxed jaw, and eyes closed.
  2. Put your left hand on your left knee with your palm up and the tips of your index and thumb touching.
  3. Put the tip of your right index and middle fingers lightly on your forehead between the eyebrows and take a deep breath in.
  4. Keeping your index and middle fingers placed between your eyebrows, take a deep breath in. 
  5. As you exhale, close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
  6. Inhale through the left nostril, then close the left nostril with your ring finger and breathe out through the right nostril.
  7. Repeat the pattern 5-9 times, ending with an exhale on the left side.

Breathing Technique #3: Bee breath (video tutorial)


  • Relieves tension, anger and anxiety
  • Calms an agitated mind
  • Relieves headaches and migraines
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Helps to lower blood pressure

Technique How-To 

  1. Sit in a comfortable seat with your back straight, eyes closed, and a gentle smile.
  2. Put your pointer fingers on the cartilage between your cheeks and ears.
  3. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, make a high-pitched continuous humming sound (like a bee) while either keeping the cartilage pressed down or pressing the cartilage in and out with your pointer fingers.
  4. Continue this pattern 5-9 times. 
  5. With your eyes closed, notice bodily sensations and internal quiet. 


Harness the Power of Breath With SKY Schools

SKY Schools SEL and Breathwork offers comprehensive support proven to increase wellness, improve performance, and lead to healthier, calmer learning environments where students and teachers can thrive. Acclaimed by Forbes, Time, Psychology Today, PBS and countless health and wellness experts, SKY Schools is the chosen breathwork solution for educators serving over 400,000 students worldwide schools, infusing breathwork into school curriculum and supporting educators in managing the inevitable stressors that come with the teaching profession.  Join the free weekly online sessions every Monday 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET, created specifically to help educators relieve stress and get better rest, or schedule a free SKY Schools demo today!

* Source: Research on SKY


Topics: Mental Health, Educator Tools

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