My Passion Project
In 2008, I stepped outside my comfort zone and accepted an invitation to attend a wellness retreat led by Laurie Ellis-Young at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Attending this retreat was one of the five best decisions I have ever made; it literally changed my life. Thus, began my journey, learning about the importance of breath, yoga and meditation. My friends were amazed I had signed up for such an adventure!
Upon returning to Minnesota, I was hooked and decided to help promote Laurie’s teachings. I became the Marketing Director for Breathe the Change shortly thereafter. I then attended Laurie's Guatemala retreats in 2009 and 2010, taking on the tasks of marketing them. My involvement increased as I took on the role of managing five years of Lake Superior wellness retreats co-facilitated by Laurie Ellis-Young and Liz Anema. These retreats were very well attended and some women returned year after year.
One day, Laurie stated that she wanted to bring breathwork to the masses. Laurie had no interest in marketing and I love marketing — so we became a magical team. Since then she has presented and provided over 250 workshops for corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and centers of education, medicine and wellness.
The yoga photographs I took of Laurie during our international travels became the material for our book FRIENDSHIP: The Art of the Practice. Out of this emerged traveling exhibits we named "Yoga On and Off the Wall." To date they have appeared in over 35 medical, educational and wellness centers in the Upper Midwest.
At age 70, I was awarded the University of Minnesota Buckman Leadership Fellowship in Philanthropy. Recognizing stress as an impediment to my own creativity, I researched statistics how breath practices and mindfulness empower
and heal. I have used my breath practices to lower my
blood pressure, curtail panic attacks, aid medical procedures and decline dental anesthesia.
My Buckman Fellowship proposal was based upon an innovative multi-lingual, multi-cultural pilot program in partnership with Park Nicollet Health. With the goal of changing mainstream medicine’s routine office visits, “The Breath Awareness Global Initiative Tool Kit” sought to empower staff and patients to utilize breath to lower blood pressure and promote healing.
The Buckman Fellowship year gave me the impetus and wherewithal to co-found our non-profit BreathLogic®. Our mission is to educate and inspire “Breath Literacy” locally and globally.
As a co-founder of BreathLogic, supporting Laurie’s visions we know NOW IS THE TIME for breath awareness. The world is more receptive to educational programs about breath and peace. We are blessed to have new board members who have been involved with Non-Violent Communications, the Shift Peace Ambassador Program and are master curriculum developers.
I am forever grateful to have met Laurie along my journey and for all of the good work we have done and will do together.
Highlights Over the Years
From Inner to Outer Peace
2020-2022: As an outgrowth of the riots and global unrest in the aftermath of the brutal death of George Flyod and the pandemic, our BreathLogic team is developing two virtual webinar programs: “From Inner to Outer Peace” to be launched 2022 in conjunction with the publication of Laurie’s book Breath Is Life. As a SHIFT international peace ambassador, initiating a global program such as this has been Laurie's a lifelong dream.
COVID-19 Breathing Tutorials
2020: Little did I dream that a 2020 pandemic would
force our BreathLogic team to create several at home free COVID-19 Breathing Tutorials for YouTube, website and social media. Zoom interviews and podcasts are also found on our website with more underway to help our Lung and Respiratory Global Health education programs. We are so proud of our trainers.
Minneapolis Revitalization Festival August 2020
2020: Our BreathLogic team is part of the “Minneapolis Revitalization Festival” August 4-5-6 which includes an art auction and a variety of performances. We donated two large yoga photographs and BreathLogic COVID19 Breath Tutorials. Also co-founder Laurie Ellis-Young is providing a 20 minute breath meditation and was interviewed by Dr. Lori Myren-Manbeck.
Want to Breathe Better?
A Minnesota Workshop
2020: A delightful workshop before we all went into the pandemic isolation. Laurie taught us wonderful breathing tools to help us survive and keep calm. "If you breathe better you will sleep better, you will think better, you will create better, you will love better and you will live better." This photograph illustrates the importance of good posture even when texting. The critters are also breathing buddies for the belly diaphragmatic practices. Saturday March 7 full day.
Laurie is Filmed for U of MN Leadership On-Line Course
2020: Knowing the internet would be the future for global learning and spreading Laurie’s knowledge around the world, I attended the 2017 & 2018 University of West Georgia Summer Symposium on Distance Learning at Jekyll Island, Georgia. A year later, Laurie was invited to teach a class on stress reduction & the Power of the Breath for an on-line University of MN College of Continuing & Professional Studies course “Becoming an Authentic Leader in an Applied Business Setting”. To be launched Fall 2020.
Symposium in Galway, Ireland
2019: Our BreathLogic co-founders attended the fabulous Galway, Ireland Third International Integrative Nursing Symposium May 22-24, 2019. Presentations included "Change Your Breath, Change Your Brain: 7 Easy Techniques Nurses Need to Know for Themselves and Their Patients. And I was delighted to create a poster session on "Yoga ON and OFF the Wall: Photography Exhibits in Medical Centers Deepen Connections Through Friendship, Wellness and Nature." This wonderful symposium was co-chaired by Mary Jo Kreitzer PhD, RN, FAAN of Minnesota and Mary Koithan, PhD, CNS-BC, FAAN of Arizona. This conference was topped off by touring the West Coast of Ireland and the Aran Islands with the spectacular guidance of fun and talented, Dee Harman.
Solstice Circle of Celebration &
Go Fund Me Launch
2019: Solstice Day December 21 at Charlson Meadows Retreat Center in Victoria Minnesota provided an incredible location of gracious spaces and welcoming hospitality. Within 30 days notice, a determined BreathLogic team of Sally Dames, Julie Condon and Nancy organized an international GO FUND ME campaign to help pay for our board member Mary McDonald's cancer bills and a thank you brunch to our donors. We offered early morning guided meditation, gentle yoga, woodland trail walk in the snow, the heart breath with Laurie Ellis-Young via Skype from across the ocean, a visit from Santa, a belly dancer and musical entertainment. The day ended with a guided solstice circle meditation with candle lighting. A most memorable event.
BINGO for Kindness
2019: A novel St. Paul Setting of Can Can Wonderland gaming center hosted our collaborative Bingo Fundraiser with three organizations: CLIMB Theatre, Inclusive-Tee and our Breath-Logic team. We had a great group of men and women playing BINGO. Our two big winners were Julie Condon and Susan Znameroski. This environment was a fun place for adults to be kids again.
"Relax, Revitalize, Refocus"
2015: I helped to design and set up a twenty-one-day program, “Relax, Revitalize, Refocus” for Park Nicollet Brookdale Clinic and a four-week program “Relax, Revitalize, Refocus, Reset” for the University of Minnesota library staff. Surveys created by our board members provided positive results demonstrating how breathing techniques improved sleep and other habits.
Importance of B-R-E-A-T-H
for the mentally ill
2015: I set up an innovative program at the Fridley, Lee Carlson Bridgeview Drop-in-Center for adults with serious and persistent mental illness. Our BreathLogic team led the participants to artistically explore and design the word
“B-R-E-A-T-H-E.” Aromatherapy, meditation, music, movement, creativity and laughter enhanced participation.
Leadership CoCreateX Retreat at HopeRides Mayer, MN
During 2017, I joined the planning committee for the CoCreateX & HopeRides Leadership Retreat Aug 25 – 26 held at the Hope Rides Horse Ranch in Mayer, MN. Attendees came from around the country for this enlightening event. Sponsors included: CoCreateX, Hope Rides, EdTrainU, ERBUS, BreathLogic, The Coaching Hour,
My Nurish, Richfield Bus Transit and Saint Croix Vineyards.
Girls in Action Train the Trainer at Roseville Nature Center
Our 2016-2018 partnership with non-profit Girls in Action provided Breath Literacy mentoring and empowerment for underserved girls of color, Native Americans, Asian and Somali communities. After the 3 day leadership training program, our BreathLogic® team members went into the high schools with experiential classes at St. Paul’s Washington Technology Magnet School, Patrick Henry/ Cooper High Schools, Somali Community centers, and elementary children dealing with ADHD and Autism Spectrum at Harvest Preparatory in Minneapolis.
Sara Thomsen & Caritas Sing
for BreathLogic Fundraising
2016 - on April 17 we had been invited by the Caritas Vocal Ensemble, a non-profit group of choral singers to partner with them in raising funds for our missions. BreathLogic's desire had always been to have Sarah Thomsen sing her creation BY BREATH at one of our events. Our board advisor and talented musician, Melissa Kalal, had kindly coordinated this event. We had a wonderful attendance of friends and family around the upper midwest.
Mayo Clinic Regional Arts & Healthcare Symposium
2014 - November 16-17 Mayo Clinic Center for Humanities in Medicine hosted the memorable Regional Arts & Healthcare Symposium in Rochester, MN. With much enthusiasm the BreathLogic team Nancy and Laurie presented a Petcha Kucha (20 slides for 20 seconds): "The Art of Friendship in Enhancing Wellbeing" followed by a panel discussion. Additionally, Laurie led the whole conference in a shaking break.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“Nancy has been the driving creative force behind
BreathLogic. She incorporates her graphic design, technology
and cultural arts skills into everything she does.
We're grateful and blessed to have her talents."
— Laurie Ellis-Young, CVO BreathLogic