In July 2022, when the results of the 8-year study of mindfulness training of a cohort of students in British schools—called the MYRIAD project—were released, the headline in the Guardian read: “Mindfulness in Schools Does Not Improve Mental Health, Study Finds.”
Though the Guardian article went on to provide more nuance, the reading public sees seven years of complex painstaking work by a large group of dedicated people reduced to a single conclusion in a headline. That is what is to be expected. As the old newspaper saying goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” When results are simplified to this degree, though, it helps if we can remember to dive deeper to see the specifics of what was studied, and what continues to be learned as a result. Research is frustrating. It moves forward in fits and starts. If we are relying on it to always provide confirmation of what we already believe, we may miss the messages that suggest ways forward. Even in our own reporting at Mindful, we tend to focus on positive results, but results that do not confirm expectations are just as important, especially when they are robust, carefully designed, and making use of large sample sizes.
In the months since the MYRIAD report came out, I took the time to interview some of the key people involved and at the periphery to gather their view of what we can learn from this immense study. Before I go into what the interviewees had to say, it will help to look at this capsule summary.
The MYRIAD Project
Funded by the Wellcome Trust, MYRIAD researched whether mindfulness practice could help young people address the range of challenges and stressors they face in an increasingly complex world, that has resulted in as many as 1 in 5 teenagers experiencing mental health problems. They were asking: “How can we prevent mental health problems arising during adolescence and enable young people to enjoy good mental health?”
It involved several studies, published in a series of academic papers. These studies involved more than 28,000 children, 100 schools, 650 teachers and 20 million individual points of data. The main findings are published in five articles in a special issue of the British Medical Journal – Evidence-based Mental Health.
The research program was based on the idea that, “just as physical training is associated with improved physical health, mindfulness training is associated with better mental health outcomes. By promoting good mental health and intervening early, in early adolescence, we wanted to see if we could build young people’s resilience and help to prevent mental health problems developing.”
The central study was a large randomized, controlled trial involving 85 schools and 8376 early adolescents. It evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a schools-based mindfulness training on risk-for-depression, social-emotional-behavioural strengths and difficulties, and well-being in 11-14 year olds.
The mindfulness training was developed by the Mindfulness in Schools Project— developers of the widely used .b curriculum (pronounced “dot b”). It was taught by school teachers who had no previous experience of mindfulness, after they had first learned it for themselves via an eight-week course and then attended a four-day training on teaching mindfulness to students. MYRIAD compared the mindfulness training to current standard social-emotional teaching in schools and explored whether mindfulness training had wider effects on teachers’ mental health and school climate. It also explored the challenges of offering mindfulness training more widely in schools, and what is needed to do this well.
In this report, I’m expanding on the nuances and details underlying our earlier reporting on the MYRIAD results, which listed five takeaways from the MYRIAD work:
- The mindfulness training employed in this study did not help young people with their mental health or well-being
- The mindfulness study involved suggesting to students that they practice at home, which they did not do
- The teachers themselves benefitted from the mindfulness training, but the intervention itself proved ineffective
- The program showed an overall improvement in the “school climate” or the quality and character of school life, values, and relationships
- It was further confirmed that mental health in adolescents is a growing challenge
All aspects of the 8-year program are outlined in detail on the MYRIAD website. An associated project, also funded by Wellcome, focused on public engagement activities, including a range of resources to engage young people with the ongoing research, integrate their perspectives into the project, and inspire interest in psychological science. As part of an effort to encourage young people to find out more about what they can do regarding their mental health, a group of students who took part in the trial helped make films that provides their perspective on mental health and the role of schools. All films can be seen on the Do-Nothing website.
Willem Kuyken: Teachers Themselves and the School Climate Benefitted the Most
Along with applied mindfulness pioneer Mark Williams, the project was led by Willem Kuyken, who is the Sir John Ritblat Family Foundation Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, in the Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University; Principal Investigator, University of Oxford Mindfulness Research Centre; and the Director of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre. Kuyken holds the only endowed chair in mindfulness in any university. (Kuyken offers high praise for the team of co-investigators and to the two other members of the team of four that oversaw the research: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Neuroscience at University College London; and Tim Dalgleish, a clinical psychologist who is the director of the Cambridge Centre for Affective Disorders (C2:AD) and Programme Lead for the Cognition, Emotion and Mental Health Programme at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge.)
The MYRIAD acronym speaks to the aims that motivated Kuyken and the team when they conceived of the project: “My Resilience in Adolescence.” They started, Kuyken told me, with three premises:
- “There is a real need to do something about the mental health of young people”
- “Learning mindfulness, executive function, and self-regulation skills in adolescence are foundational to mental health and sets the trajectory of people’s lives, and we have data that supports that”
- “If we teach kids these skills using a school-based mindfulness training, we will improve mental health outcomes.”
The third premise, Kuyken says, “is the only one we got wrong. About a third of the 28,000 students in the research project reported significant mental health problems. We were able to demonstrate that mindfulness skills and self-regulation skills are associated with mental health. But mindfulness training directly by school teachers to 11-14-year-olds does not effectively transmit those skills. It also raises the question of who is best placed to teach these skills—it may not be mainstream school teachers.”
It’s natural to think school teachers would be the ideal vehicle for spreading mindfulness in schools at scale. They are there. They know the children. However, Kuyken points out, they are already busy, stressed, and working in systems that challenge their own mental health. Learning to teach mindfulness is a heavy lift. “It takes a tremendous amount of work to bring someone to a level of competency in transmitting mindfulness,” he says. “The teachers in this program engaged in training equivalent to approximately two full-time weeks of work. That’s a big commitment in terms of their schedules. And many of the teachers seemed to benefit in terms of their own mental health. Burnout was reduced. We’ve learned, though, that this amount of training is still not enough to develop competency as a mindfulness teacher.”
Seeing that the intervention employed in this project, “a psycho-educational intervention of mindfulness delivered by school teachers to quite young teens,” in Kuyken’s words, did not improve the mental health or well-being of the young students compared to the control has led him to consider where the leverage points might be to make a difference. Above all, he and his colleagues are not motivated to defend an existing regimen. Rather, they are motivated to improve health and well-being in whatever ways are possible, to address what can be called a mental health crisis in adolescence.
What was most striking to him in the results was that school climate improved. That leads him to conclude that “maybe we need to be rethinking the focus of our interventions, not working directly with the young teens, teaching them mindfulness, but rather creating climates and contexts in which kids feel safe, respected, able to learn. We asked the teachers to teach kids mindfulness in the hope that it would develop their attention, self-regulation, and so on. It didn’t. Maybe what we need to do, then, is shift focus to designing a school climate that promotes those qualities. Supporting school leadership teams, head teachers, and teachers in promoting an atmosphere of spaciousness, awareness, kindness, care—that’s an indirect way of teaching mindfulness. That’s one of the biggest implications of this work: the climate needs to change.”
“Maybe we need to be rethinking the focus of our interventions, not working directly with the young teens, teaching them mindfulness, but rather creating climates and contexts in which kids feel safe, respected, able to learn.”
Willem Kuyken, director of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre
One of the first places to look, Kuyken suggests, is at the “relentless pressure” that permeates school systems. “Relentless assessment throughout one’s whole school career, pressure brought by policy makers and felt by head teachers and passed on to teachers and students.” He was talking from his experience in the UK (attested to in the videos from the Do Nothing Campaign), but the pressure he’s talking about would resonate with school teachers in many parts of the world.
Kuyken concluded by expanding his thoughts to workplaces generally. Instead of supplying mindfulness apps to employees to counteract the stress of the workplace, “Why not alter the climate of the workplace itself, to make it more mindful, a place where people feel respected and safe in an atmosphere of spaciousness, awareness, kindness, and care? That’s the kind of indirect way of teaching mindfulness, of spreading mindfulness, that we maybe need to be thinking about. That’s one of the big implications of this work.”
Mark Greenberg: A Good Tool for Some People at Some Times in Some Contexts
Mark Greenberg is a giant in the field of Social and Emotional Learning. He is the founding director of the Penn State’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Throughout his many years in prevention research, which focuses on preventing and/or mitigating behavioral and health challenges and increasing resiliency. He is one of the founders of CASEL—the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
Greenberg, who is an investigator on the MYRIAD project, praises MYRIAD as a very careful trial backed by an “exceptional team of scientists,” and concedes that they simply found that this short curriculum delivered by teachers for this age group did not show positive effects. Like Kuyken, in assessing what we can learn from it, Greenberg points first to the insufficiency of the intervention used. Since so many mindfulness programs have followed the MBSR model of an eight-week intervention, there’s a tendency to design everything for eight weeks, he says. at CASEL, “we would never think that an eight or ten-week intervention would be sufficient. Yet, people still think that a short shot of mindfulness is going to have substantial and long-term effects. Even with the many adult studies of MBSR, there are few that have followed adults and showed long-term effects. The lack of longitudinal studies to demonstrate long-term effects is a clear weakness in this field altogether.
“When it comes to children, you have a further complication. When adults come to mindfulness programs, they come as volunteers. I’ve said elsewhere that children in schools are like prisoners. They don’t have any choice. For a lot of kids, just like a lot of adults, if you were to pick them off the street and tell them to meditate because it would be good for them, most would just laugh at you. It’s a very select, small group of typical adults who are interested. And then it’s a very small select group who maintain regular practice afterwards.”
When the school says you’re going to do this, Greenberg says, “It doesn’t mean that most kids are going to find it interesting or useful,” which echoes something Kuyken said to me: “Fourteen-year-olds don’t necessarily care what a teacher says is the right thing to do. They’re very attuned to what their peers think is the cool thing to do. If an adult comes along and says, ‘This is the cool thing to do’, de facto, it’s not the cool thing to do.”
Also like Kuyken, Greenberg advocates for focusing on systemic changes. In pursuing that aim, he separates what teachers can do in training students in mindfulness from what can be done for the teachers themselves. While the evidence for improved student outcomes is not robust so far, “the one area in education in which mindfulness has repeatedly been shown to be successful is with the teachers, including in the MYRIAD research. I would suggest, then, that a good place to start in helping schools become more caring places where children can explore their inner worlds is with the adults.” It’s one thing to ask a teacher to try to train fourteen-year-olds in mindfulness, he suggests, but it’s another to see if we can help them “embody mindfulness more throughout the day.”
“The one area in education in which mindfulness has repeatedly been shown to be successful is with the teachers, including in the MYRIAD research. I would suggest, then, that a good place to start in helping schools become more caring places where children can explore their inner worlds is with the adults.”
Mark Greenberg, founding director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State
In cases where people are determined to train school teachers to teach students mindfulness in the classroom, Greenberg suggests, it has to include not just before-the-fact training. It also should include “ongoing coaching and assessment, having people come in and watch the teachers and give them feedback.” You can’t course-correct when a teacher is losing their way if no one is there to observe them.
Greenberg is skeptical of what a curriculum in and of itself can do. “Over the past 30 years at CASEL, we’ve learned that a curriculum—even if it’s evidence-based—is going to have less effect when it’s done alone as opposed to as part of a systems transformation, where you integrate the curriculum into the rest of the school day. How can a mindful approach be integrated into math class, history, etc.? Also, how is it integrated with how students are disciplined; that is, when kids have a problem how are they treated? Is it more punitive or more akin to restorative justice? This broader focus on systems changes is what we call ‘systemic SEL.’”
Another key factor to point to in assessing MYRIAD, Greenberg says, is to understand the developmental stage of the age group. “Early adolescence is generally defined as 11-14, middle adolescence is 15-18, and late adolescence is after that—college age, often termed the transition to adulthood. These are very different stages in terms of brain organization, emotional regulation, risk-taking, hormones, etc. And one of the key questions in terms of mindfulness is how metacognitive is someone at these various stages.”
Greenberg describes metacognition, a term widely used in developmental psychology and mindfulness literature, as “the ability to operate on the nature of your mind,” and he regards it as essential to “true mindfulness.” Pre-adolescents, he points out, “are not fully metacognitive. They don’t think about their thinking. They don’t think about the nature of their mind. They act. They play.”
When it comes to early adolescents, the focus of MYRIAD, “they are in a transition period,” he says. “Think about when you were 12. You start looking in the mirror intently and then looking at yourself through the eyes of how other kids see you. Science fiction and other kinds of hypotheticals become interesting. However, at 11 to 13 one is barely metacognitive, compared to sixteen, which leads me to question whether this is actually the right time for a mindfulness intervention of this type. A series of studies in Australia, for example, considered a short, school-based mindfulness curriculum for 11-13 year-olds and 15-16 year-olds. While the older group showed no effect, the younger group found iatrogenic, ie, negative effects.” Since MYRIAD showed that there were negative effects for a number of students, the argument against introducing this kind of curriculum at this age is strengthened, Greenberg posits.
Greenberg also speculates about the label “mindfulness” used to describe practices, states, and traits of people from early childhood through adolescence to adulthood. He questions whether what is done with younger children in mindfulness programs (putting a bear on the belly, regulated breathing, glitter jars) and in early adolescence is properly called mindfulness. “I would call it proto-mindfulness,” he says. “It’s self-regulation. And that’s a good thing. We’ve been teaching self-regulation in social and emotional learning for 30 or 40 years, teaching kids to take deep breath to self-regulate. But is it mindfulness, properly speaking? If they aren’t metacognitive, they don’t operate on the nature of mind.” He’s suggesting that being more careful about the language and making more distinctions between what’s actually being practiced at different developmental stages and in different contexts will help the field better conceptualize the development of mindfulness as opposed to using a blanket term to cover vastly different contexts.
In the end, Greenberg says, “Mindfulness practices are great tools for some people at some times in some contexts.” In seeking to inculcate “systemic mindfulness,” he says, evidence-based curricula would be one component, but we need to learn what to deliver, by whom, and at what age level, and how to support it in the entire school atmosphere. The findings coming out of MYRIAD help to illuminate the way forward.
Richard Burnett: Measuring Gas with a Slide Rule
Richard Burnett is co-founder of the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) and co-wrote .b, MiSP’s flagship course, as well as other MiSP curricula. He is a teacher at Tonbridge School and has taught mindfulness to well over a thousand adolescents, as well as to many school staff and school parents.
Since he helped to pioneer the curriculum used in MYRIAD, I expected Richard Burnett to be taking a more defensive stance in our conversation. Instead, I found him expansive and curious. First off, for Burnett, it’s important to distinguish the reporting of the research from the research itself. “If you actually dig into all the papers to come out of MYRIAD, there’s some really interesting and useful information in there. And we welcome the insight and the light that MYRIAD has been able to shine on things.”
Burnett points out that the project was funded based on a very promising pilot. The pilot, however, was taught by people who were very familiar with mindfulness and had “taught it a lot already in schools.” What MYRIAD was really asking, “Can we take what’s been shown to be good on a small scale to a really big scale, taught nationwide, in perhaps hundreds or thousands of schools. If you’re going to do that, you need to be able to train people who don’t know anything about mindfulness. It takes more than eight weeks to really understand mindfulness and further to be able to transmit it to a group of kids who are likely not interested, a captive audience. That’s a craft and a skill that develops over a longer period of time. So, the answer to can we scale this is no, at least not this way.
“It’s got to grow organically from a body of professionals committed to learning mindfulness long term and learning how to transmit it to students when they present in many different ways: falling asleep, looking out the window, aggressively resistant, and so on.” In other words, he’s saying, the bar for competency in teaching mindfulness is quite high.
“It’s got to grow organically from a body of professionals committed to learning mindfulness long term and learning how to transmit it to students when they present in many different ways: falling asleep, looking out the window, aggressively resistant, and so on.”
Mindfulness programs that have tried to scale have put a lot of faith in the power of a scripted curriculum to transmit mindfulness. If you follow the script, the thinking goes, the curriculum is bulletproof. When I asked about this, Burnett said, “We may have begun with the dream of something that was a bit more bulletproof and more universal. I think we’ve learned that it doesn’t work. Our understanding in that regard has changed a lot since this research was done. We started this project eight years ago, and the research itself occurred about four years ago. We’ve evolved since then. Whereas previously we might have thought if you stick to the script it will work. We realize now that’s not the case. You need to encourage openness, flexibility, adaptability in those who are teaching. It’s been humbling to understand what a curriculum on its own can and cannot do and the level of competency required of the teacher.”
He points out that even for the most experienced teacher on their best day, it just doesn’t work. “Whatever is happening for the students in their lives, they are not ready, not in a place where they can be taught. And if you simply don’t accept that and push too hard, teens have great radar about being pressed, and they will back off even more. You need to be confident enough to admit that it’s not working, and let it go.” Needless to say, it’s hard to scale a curriculum that requires that level of flexibility. If it’s the time scheduled for mindfulness practice, mindfulness practice it shall be.
Burnett echoes what Kuyken and Greenberg had to say about systemic approaches. “Mindfulness,” he says, “has to support the existing structure and culture of well-being. If you try to carve it out separately, it’s not going to work. It becomes a little evangelical, off-putting, and dogmatic. It rather needs to sit alongside and work with whatever existing culture of well-being is cultivated at the school.” It follows, then, that if the culture of well-being is weak, as Kuyken suggests it is in many schools, especially in areas of extreme poverty, mindfulness cannot take root and have real influence no matter how good the teachers and the curriculum are. “It’s naïve in the extreme,” Burnett says, “to think that mindfulness can somehow magically overcome the socioeconomic challenges in schools.”
As did Kuyken and Greenberg, Burnett also has a lot to say about the age group of the students in the study. “Admittedly, our curriculum was developed much more with 14 and 15 year-olds in mind. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be practical to target that age group for MYRIAD. We wanted to do a two-year follow-up. The 14-15 year-olds, what we call Year 10 in the UK, would be getting ready for public exams. If we did the work in the year before the public exams, once they’d taken the exam, they would have left school at that point and we wouldn’t be able to follow up. So, the target group slid back to Year 9’s and Year 8’s, and they’re at a whole different level of development.”
At the earlier ages, he says, you need a simpler more externally oriented type of “mindfulness” practice, more dynamic, involving more movement, points of focus that are not as ethereal as the breath perhaps. It’s not the paradigmatic type of mindfulness practice that relies on someone being “self-aware of their own mechanisms.”
He says that “We see that happening much more with students who are 15 and older. With the 17- to 18-year-olds, it goes even farther and you can really discuss insights at a much deeper level, and many students get the bug. It’s a very different way of teaching than what you can do with much younger students.”
Far from seeing mindfulness as a magic bullet or panacea, in the end, Burnett admits, there are just many students who will not click with mindfulness practice. But, of course, there are many who don’t click with physical education, or math, or grammar. Finding out where explicit mindfulness instruction, by whom, when, and under what circumstances (elective or part of a core curriculum) can be most effective—these are questions that mindfulness educators will be asking for a very long time.
Burnett’s final thoughts surrounded the difficult of measuring mindfulness and its effects and how the aims of .b and MISP may have been at odds in the end to a scaling project like MYRIAD.
Burnett struggles to understand how you can measure the outcome of mindfulness practice in the longer term for someone. “It’s like trying to measure gas with a slide rule,” he says. Mindfulness is ephemeral, hard to pin down. For some, perhaps there is no impact.
For others, it will manifest on a spiritual level, for some it will be like sport (in the positive sense), for some, it will be academic, and for others it may just be the classic one we always hear: I no longer hit my brother for taking my PlayStation controller. How do you measure such diverse and unpredictable impacts?”
When .b started, in 2009, “I’m sure we thought that this is just common sense, and over time, though, we had to respect that while it’s so simple at one level, it is so difficult to remember to do it yourself, and even more so to persuade others that it’s worth trying. .b, then, was really created as an introduction, just to try to ask students to give it a go and see what happens. We knew that the big dosages that had been successfully implemented and studied with adults wasn’t going to fly in schools, so our aim became to simply whet the appetite, to inject a little awareness, so that when they’re 20, 30, or 40 and having a midlife crisis, they remember, there was that mindfulness thing. I still get emails from kids who thank us for introducing them to the practice. I just got one from a guy who’s 32 now and he says, ‘Remember that stuff we did? I just wanted to say thank you for teaching me that because it’s making a difference in my life now.’ How do you measure that?”
When I step back from hearing Burnett’s reflections, I am moved by his dedication and his willingness to learn from circumstances. It’s also clear that the challenges of intervening systemically in early adolescence in schools—to reduce the growing incidence of mental health problems—is beyond the scope of what any curriculum can do on its own, no matter how much good that curriculum may be able to do in certain contexts.
Seewan Eng: Start with Adults
Seewan Eng has been the Executive Director at Mindful Schools for the past three years. She joined as Interim Executive Director in January 2020 with the charge of restructuring operations, assessing organizational strategy, and cultivating a culture of trust. Just prior to that, she served as VP of Digital Transformation at the New Teacher Center, where she led key initiatives to scale tech-enabled, people-centered solutions supporting teacher professional growth and teacher retention.
Eng is the one person I reached out to who was not involved in the MYRIAD study. Mindful Schools was founded in 2010, a similar time to MISP. While comparing their programs and approaches on two different sides of the pond and sorting out the apples and the oranges is beyond the scope of my reporting here, I thought it would be timely to hear Eng’s thoughts about what’s important for mindfulness applications in schools.
Eng started her career as a middle school teacher, with great hopes and abundant enthusiasm. A decade later, she found herself burned out, spending her day at school checked out from her body, full of anxiety, disconnected from her students, and going through the motions. A dancer, at night she would spend time in the studio, which enabled her to return to her body in a healthier state. “That burnout year was me at my absolute worst,” she says. “Teaching is an incredibly complex act. It demands your full presence. Here I was, coming into my body and alive in the dance studio, but then totally demoralized, either overreactive or out of touch, in the classroom. I see now that mindfulness was a missing piece for me, a practice that could have helped me bridge both worlds. If I had found it then, I might still be a teacher today.
“So much of the educational system is dehumanizing. People enter the profession in general with a true calling to bring out the best in people, to unlock the genius within our students. You work hard to get your certificate, and then you find yourself inside a system doing the opposite. Educators need a way to close the proverbial knowing–doing gap—the disconnect between what we know and are trained to do and the actions we actually take. Mindfulness is an entry point that does this.”
Mindful Schools takes a “whole school approach,” Eng says. When you approach mindfulness as yet another tool or subject matter that you can train into people, she says, it just becomes another thing for people in school to have to do, added to an already long list of to-do’s. “Mindfulness,” she says, “is not something you add to an already full plate. It’s a mindset shift and a quality of being that helps you hold your plate better. And when you practice it in community, you start to see how you can work together to take things off the plate. We have to shift from our hyper-focus on individual success and achievement, where mindfulness is one more thing you have to do on your own to fix yourself.” To counteract the focus on individual performance, she says, Mindful Schools has “really built out the part of our program that works with adults. We have long had curricula for students, but the whole school approach really begins with adults first. How do we engage a diverse group of busy, professional adults who need immediate relief from their stress and overwhelm who also need to reconnect with their true purpose: to spark social change and create community through their interactions with colleagues and students?”
“I know that we’re just playing a small piece here. There is a larger ecosystem, and this is intergenerational work. “
Seewan Eng, executive director at Mindful Schools
Equity is also a vital element, Eng stresses: “Education’s primary function is as a practice of freedom and human development, but all too often it falls into traps of being about control and compliance. This dynamic is especially prevalent in schools serving communities of color. It is also one reason why educator training often fails, and why offerings fail to authentically and relevantly engage students.”
Eng also places a strong emphasis on what the teacher can actually model based on their own experience of finding ways to restore themselves in the midst of the action. It echoes what the three others have suggested about the need for someone training others in mindfulness to have enough experience to be embodying it themselves. “When teachers begin to see mindfulness more as a way of being than a Jedi mind trick, they can make a shift that sounds like this: My fundamental job as a teacher requires self-actualization and presence. I cannot have my own ball of stress transfer into my students. And I need to have a better response to the stress my students carry,” she says.
“You can have the best curriculum in the world, in any subject area, if you’re not able to show up in good shape, it’s eventually going to go sideways.”
Eng is proud of what they’ve been able to do when they can work with a whole school district, from top to bottom, and the Mindful Schools website has testimonials that speak to that impact, but she is also humbled by how big an effort is required to bring about systemic change, to foster more cultures of collective care. “I know that we’re just playing a small piece here. There is a larger ecosystem, and this is intergenerational work. Change needs to come in the teacher pipeline, our public health systems, and our public policy around education. What we can do is offer teachers and school systems as many entry points as possible. It also takes time for mindfulness to really take. As a teacher, I need a community to support me, not just pressure to do it all on my own. I need an invitation and a reminder to practice, not just another mandate to do more. As more people learn together each year, and capacity builds, this is how a culture of care takes root and sustains.”
Learning to take care of your heart, to accept the pain that comes with seeing the people you love suffer, and to be okay with suffering yourself, is the true work of self-love—and it begins with the breath.