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Schools sharpen focus on students' emotional needs in pandemic's wake

There's a greater understanding that in the pursuit of academic excellence, students' basic needs must be met. They need to be seen and heard and have a voice

Long Island schools, aware of the pandemic-fueled increase in student anxiety and depression, are doing more this school year to help students coping with the fallout of 2½ rocky years of remote learning, isolation, learning loss, masking, social distancing and more.

Read Article on Newsday


Long Island districts adding wellness rooms to help staff deal with stress

The pandemic really brought to the forefront the deep stress that teachers are under

Long Island school districts, sensing the need for social and emotional support for teachers and staff during this COVID-19 pandemic, are setting up wellness rooms, embracing deep-breathing exercises and offering workshops on how to stay calm.

Read Article on Newsday

Meditation in the Classroom

A local personal trainer is working to bring meditation and all its benefits into classrooms across the area

Ambrose Wilson Brown, a SKY Schools teacher and local personal trainer is working to bring meditation and all its benefits into classrooms across the area.

Watch video on WISN

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SKY Teacher Neelam Patil is one of TIME'S Innovative Teachers 2022

Neelam Patil leading Green Pocket Forests, a new program alongside SKY Schools in IAHV, working to bring Miyawaki forests and SKY SEL & Breathwork to schools across the U.S.

Neelam Patil's role as a science teacher includes equipping students K-12 with an understanding of the causes and solutions for climate change. Neelam, who teaches science at Cragmont and Oxford Elementary schools, showed students at three schools in Berkeley Unified School District how to plant Miyawaki forests, dense, biodiverse micro-forests that were first popularized by the late Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki. “It eliminates a lot more carbon than a normal forest, it grows faster than a normal forest, and it lets in more wildlife,” fifth grader Leo Niknejad told TIME. The award honors Patil’s efforts to inspire action over pessimism in the face of a growing climate crisis.

Read Article on TIME Magazine

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U.S. Surgeon General on our Youth Mental Health Panel.

Panelists explore the future of youth mental health and provide young people with tips and tools to be happy now, and into the future.

Our panelists are US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Global Humanitarian, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, James R. Doty, MD, Founder CCARE at Stanford University and Emma Seppälä PhD, Science Director of Stanford CCare and Yale lecturer.

SKY Schools Newsletter 2021

To Improve Students' Mental Health, Yale Study Finds, Teach Them to Breathe

When college students learn specific techniques for managing stress and anxiety, their well-being improves across a range of measures and leads to better mental health, a new Yale study finds.

Across college campuses, there has been a significant rise in student depression, anxiety, and demand for mental health services. The YALE research team evaluated 3 classroom-based wellness training programs that incorporated breathing and emotional intelligence strategies. SKY Campus, MBSR - Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction & EI -Foundations of Emotional Intelligence on students. SKY Campus showed the greatest impact, benefiting six outcomes: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive affect and social connectedness. EI benefited one outcome: mindfulness. The MBSR group showed no change.

Read Article on YALE NEWS


How To Decrease Back To College Anxiety: Just Breathe

SKY Campus Happiness had the most success.

The study found that of all of the interventions, SKY Campus Happiness had the most success, with students showing improvement in all measured domains including stress, depression, mental health, social connection, mindfulness, and positive emotion. Here are a few videos of the students sharing their experiences with the program. Of the other two interventions, only the Emotional Intelligence program had any significant effects, with students showing improved mindfulness, or the ability of students to be present in the moment, for students.

Read Article on Forbes


Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress

More beneficial in terms of immediate impact on stress, mood, and conscientiousness.

In a second study, conducted at the University of Arizona, SKY Breath Meditation was compared to a workshop that taught more conventional, cognitive strategies for stress-management (in other words, how to change your thoughts about stress). Both workshops were rated similarly by participants and they both produced significant increases in social connectedness. However, SKY Breathing was more beneficial in terms of immediate impact on stress, mood, and conscientiousness, and these effects were even stronger when measured three months later.

Read Article on Harvard Business Review


If Traditional Meditation Makes You Anxious, You Need to Try SKY Breath Meditation

You can notice an immediate effect...

What SKY Breath Meditation does is that it immediately taps into the opposite of your fight-or-flight [response]," Dr. Seppälä explained.

The sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight response whereas the parasympathetic nervous system controls the rest and digest response, she said. By using breathwork, you're able to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, calming your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure in minutes, according to Dr. Seppälä.

"You can notice an immediate effect. . . . And so this is a very fast acting and efficient and effective way to come to a meditative state," she said. You're actively changing your breath during SKY Breath Meditation, "and it's bringing you into this deep state of relaxation that has these impacts on your mental health and well-being."

Read Article on POPSUGAR


SKY Breath Meditation is Helping Kids and Teens Live Healthier Lives

The first learning is how to take real responsibility for our stress and emotions...

“The goal is not just to teach youth tools they can use, but to create an entire school culture of wellness and self-care, where people know how to manage their stress and support others towards the vision of a stress-free, violence-free school community.” says SKY Schools Executive Director Elan Gepner-Dales.

“The premise is simple. When people are relaxed and happy, teaching and learning is much easier, people connect and support each other, and everyone has greater success,” explains Gepner-Dales.

“The first learning is how to take real responsibility for our stress and emotions, which ends up impacting our relationships, choices, and actions,” says Gepner-Dales. This training that includes empathy and self-empowerment leads kids and teens to cast off a victimization mentality in favor of effective stress management, no matter what changes occur."


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Can Yoga Fix the College Mental Health Crisis?

I couldn’t believe how calm I felt after the first time I experienced the SKY Breath Meditation...

Kamaira Clifton, a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was first introduced to the program during her junior year of college. Clifton, who recently earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, says that after she attended her first retreat through SKY Campus Happiness, she felt happier and her grades improved.

“I couldn’t believe how calm I felt after the first time I experienced the SKY Breath Meditation,” she says. “I don’t know if I remember ever feeling that calm before. Learning how to do that on my own was amazing.”

Read Article on Yoga Journal


High Anxiety Times: Calm Down, Take A Deep Breath

Negative thoughts and images are the norm these days. But a better mindset can help make for a much better attitude.

The experts will tell you living in the here and now along with slow, deliberate breaths is what it takes to achieve positive rather than panicked thinking. This is what you can control in so much uncertainty.

Read Article on CBS 58


YES! Program Reduces Teens’ Impulsive Behavior

showed a significant decrease in impulsive behaviors

According to a study from the University of California, Los Angeles, teens who went through a four-week stress reducing program called, “ SKY Schools (previously YES! For Schools)” showed a significant decrease in impulsive behaviors.

Read Article on Psychology Today


Can Meditation Prevent Suicide?

A high school experienced several suicides so meditation was used to lower student stress

A group of educators, students and health professionals collaborated to get to the root of the problem, and responded with a series of structural changes and additional resources for students, including bringing in SKY Schools (Previously YES! for Schools) to offer meditation and stress management training to support student wellbeing and mental health.

Read Article on PBS NOVA

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From pet therapy to yoga, schools address kids’ stress

From deep breathing exercises to flexible schedules and even recess at the high school level, schools are instituting programs to help students better handle their stressful lives.

Read Article on USA Today


Fighting stress at school with meditation and mindfulness

‘Deep breathing just gets you calm right away,’ says Andy Mandolese, a 7th grader. ‘Once you walk in upset you come out happy and proud.’

Teaching this sort of relaxation as early as kindergarten has proven to be beneficial, especially in a world of information overload where multitasking is becoming the norm.

Read Article on FOX 5 NY


John Adams Middle School Mindfulness Program Seeks To Enhance School Climate

Every day, students at John Adams Middle School take a moment to stop, breathe and practice presence... The results are heightened awareness, reduced stress or anxiety and a boost in overall academic performance.

Read Article on Santa Monica Mirror


Protecting Young Life – De-stress exercises introduced in schools

...among those benefits ... reduced incidents of aggression and violence

Read Article on PBS NOVA

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Take a deep breath and say YES!

Dodd Middle School students are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic. They are learning how to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Read Article on the Long Island Herald

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School’s Got You Stressed out? Here Are Some Tips For Teens, Parents And Schools

Researchers found reduced impulsivity, increased emotional empathy and also the potential to reduce bullying in students who engaged in the regular breathing technique.

Read Article on CPR News


Freeport teen extols virtues of yoga at United Nations

Gomez said he realized through a breathing technique called Victory Breath that his panic attacks were “all my imagination.” He learned the technique and others at a Youth Empowerment Seminar at the middle school and has lived by it ever since.

Read Article on Newsday

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