Dedicated expert roundtable on the Power of Breath took place on 7 OCT 2020.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the pandemic has impacted the mental health of people around the world. Isolation, fear, insecurity, economic turmoil, loss of loved ones and a feeling of powerlessness have determined the lives of citizens globally. Levels of stress and anxiety have risen substantially, including among children, young people and healthcare workers. Substance and alcohol dependency are expected to rise, while self-harm and suicide rates among at risk individuals are also expected to increase. The United Nations officially warned of a sharp rise in mental health problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latest studies by Yale University and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) published in July 2020 suggest that breathing-based techniques can be an effective tool in reducing stress and depression and support overall mental health and well-being.

How can something as simple and cost-effective as our own breath be a remedy in the current mental health crisis? Why are these techniques considered so impactful? And where are these techniques already in use and can be scaled-up as a best-practice for global impact?

To find answers for these questions, WFEB invited experts from the US and Europe who have done significant research and work in this area to a dedicated expert roundtable,
The panel comprised of Dr. Emma Seppälä, Lecturer at Yale University and Science Director at Stanford University, James Nestor, Science Journalist and Author of the bestseller Book “Breath” as well as Swami Jyothirmayah, International Director of The Art of Living Foundation and Breathwork & Meditation expert.

The roundtable event saw a dynamic exchange, inspiring case studies of transformation and a presentation of latest scientific studies and practical research done at Yale University on the effectiveness of breathing techniques, in particular a breathing technique called “SKY” (Sudarshan Kriya).

A few days to go till this year’s World Mental Health Day, speakers urged that it is more important and mandatory than ever before to bring mental health awareness in the spotlight and turn to solutions and new approaches for prevention and treatment. All speakers commonly agreed that the right breathing techniques can play a significant role in contributing to overall mental health and wellbeing.

Watch the recording of the online roundtable to understand why and how breathing techniques can make a difference


Quotes from speakers (excerpt)

Christoph Glaser asks What would be the reason that people could give to incorporate breathing into their lives? ⠀

Dr. Emma Seppälä answers, “that awareness of asking ourselves what are we doing? What habits are we taking to take care of the state of our mind? And breathing is one of the most profound, as James said, the ® breathing technique is so powerful .. when you connect with your breathing you will calm your mind, you can do it when you are in a conference call, when you are driving … “⠀

James Nestor answers, it is a wonderful way to reorient yourself in your environment, in your body and simply following your breath has enormous benefits.

Swami Jyothirmayah answers “when you practice the ® breathing technique, you become more natural, you always feel at home, you experience inner peace and at the same time you become more dynamic in your life.



This dedicated roundtable event was a follow-up to WFEB’s most recent Think Tank on the pandemic’s impact on mental health and its implications and consequences. The Think Tank, comprising global experts from the European Parliament, WHO, science, business and NGO, called for the urgency to find cost-effective and immediate solutions to address the rise of mental health issues globally. For further information on WFEB’s Think Tanks dedicated to Covid-19 visit