The M List 2016: Ilana Nankin

Mindful transformation
The M List 2016: Ilana Nankin

Ilana Nankin wants nothing short of transformation for teachers, their students and their schools. That’s why she started Breathe For Change. The seed was planted when, as a pre-kindergarten teacher several years ago, she integrated yoga and mindfulness practices into her classroom. She started the organization as she was working on her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, because, in her research, she found that young, passionate teachers were quickly overwhelmed by their work. She found that they “did not have the tools or support to take care of themselves so that they could really do the work that they set out to do for their kids.”

Breathe For Change offers a 200-hour training program in yoga and wellness that is specifically designed for educators. Nankin says teachers come out of the training eager to “take what they learned about the importance of taking care of yourself and creating space for everyone in school settings to do that back to their schools.” She says, “I think if every school in the nation had access to Breathe For Change, we’d have a completely transformed system.”

The M List

Madison Magazine’s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its fourth year, the M List recognizes those making strides as mentors and teachers. Last year’s list of honorees were making impacts in the area of social innovation. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.