Breathwork for Healing Racial Trauma: a Contemplative-Based Research Journey


Breathwork for Healing Racial Trauma webinar

The December 2020 ACMHE Webinar:

Breathwork for Healing Racial Trauma: a Contemplative-Based Research Journey

presented by
Dr. Angel Acosta and Zishan Jiwani
To be broadcast live on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
3 – 4:30 pm ET / 12 – 1:30 pm PT
(Registration closes at 2pm ET on the day of the webinar)
Free for ACMHE members, $17.50 for non-members (join ACMHE here)

Registration has closed.


This webinar explores a study of a community breathwork series that aimed to provide people with a virtual space to heal from and wrestle with racial trauma.

Across several months, integrated and BIPOC-only groups participated in facilitated experimental sessions grounded in breathwork and 400 years of inequality framework to process grief and find collective healing, and a sense of grounding. Participants were part of communities that were reeling from a global pandemic and contending with the onslaught of structural violence and police brutality.

This webinar will discuss the unique contemplative-based research methodology and a dynamic theoretical framework which underpin this research effort. The initial findings from this project point to or, at least, hint toward a paradigm shift in terms of how we carry out contemplative social science and arrive at new methods of community-centered racial healing.

Meet the Presenters:

Angel AcostaFor the last decade, Dr. Angel Acosta ( has worked to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice, and mindfulness. He completed his doctorate in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Angel has supported educational leaders and their students by facilitating leadership trainings, creating pathways to higher education, and designing dynamic learning experiences. His dissertation explored healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development. After participating in the Mind and Life Institute’s Academy for Contemplative Leadership, Angel began consulting and developing learning experiences that weave leadership development with conversations about inequality and healing, to support educational leaders through contemplative and restorative practices. As a former trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, he participated as a speaker and discussant at the Asia Pacific Forum on Holistic Education in Kyoto, Japan. He continues to consult for organizations like the NYC Department of Education, UNICEF, Columbia University and others. Over the last couple of years, he has designed the Contemplating 400 Years of Inequality Experience—a contemplative journey to understand structural inequality. He’s a proud member of the 400 Years of Inequality Project, based at the New School. He is also the Creative Director at the NYC Healing Collective, a community initiative amplifying people and insights at the intersection of healing, wellness and societal transformation.

Zishan Jiwani is a second-year MA student in Psychology at The New School for Social Research where he engages in research on trauma, memory, and attachment using mixed methods including contemplative inquiry approaches such as micro-phenomenology. Prior to The New School, Zishan has worked with The Center for Systems Awareness as a community and design assistant as well as a contemplative systems consultant to a number of educational institutions in India. Zishan has also studied Transdisciplinary Design at the Parsons School of Design and has worked in international development in East Africa and India for many years.

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