Fresno State’s ‘Campus News’ asked Dr. Ting-fen Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies, about her work with the SKY Happiness Retreat. Written by Carli Medina, student assistant with University Communications.

When Dr. Ting-fen Lin was in graduate school at Ohio State University, she started feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Then, the physical symptoms started: dizziness, headaches and stomach aches.

A friend recommended her to the SKY Happiness Retreat. After Lin started doing this, her mind cleared up and her symptoms disappeared. Now, she’s teaching SKY Happiness to colleagues at Fresno State.

Lin started organizing SKY Happiness Retreats at the University of Oregon, while earning her doctorate in communication disorders and sciences. She has volunteered as a retreat facilitator for over five years.

“If I didn’t have the SKY practice to give me strength and energy, I don’t think I would have completed my dissertation during the COVID pandemic,” Lin said.

Originally from Taiwan, Lin moved to the United States in 2006 to work on her masters degree in speech and hearing science at Ohio State. She had a lot to adjust to from living on her own, to changing majors, to the environment and the stress from school.

The SKY Happiness Retreat, designed by global spiritual and humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is an evidence-based, total well-being training program that has been taught for over 40 years around the world. In 2014, breathwork and meditation expert Annelies Richmond founded the SKY Campus Happiness program and tailored the retreat for students, staff, faculty and alumni across the U.S. to experience the benefits of SKY Breath Meditation. SKY Campus Happiness has now expanded as a premiere mental well-being program to 101 universities nationwide and across Europe, Latin America and Asia.

SKY Happiness Retreat is currently being held on Zoom. The retreat includes interactive group processes, experiential learning, emotional intelligence training, breathwork, yoga, evidence-based meditation and service leadership. There are over 100 independent studies on outcomes associated with SKY workshops that prove the effectiveness of the retreats.

SKY Happiness is using breathing to optimize the state of mind, making people more productive at work and in a better mood. The program teaches how to thrive in life and lead with clarity of mind, resilience, purpose and belongingness. The benefits help with stress, mood, social connection, energy, and focus that is typically caused during work.

“Go into it with an open mind and it will surprise you of the impacts,” Lin said.

Dr. Lisa Herzig, director for the Didactic Program, participated in a recent SKY Happiness Retreat and said she felt at peace and felt all her stress and tension relieved.

“It felt freeing. I felt as though a heavy blanket was lifted and I felt much lighter during the breathing exercises,” Herzig said.

Dr. Travis Cronin, assistant professor for the Department of Social Work Education, participated in a retreat with Lin in March. Cronin said he was interested in attending the retreat to help his breathing skills and to get coached directly instead of reading about it. He was concerned about being on Zoom for the nine-hour retreat but said “the retreat was so well facilitated that I did not mind it being on Zoom.” He enjoyed the retreat and recommends it to his colleagues, students, friends and family.

“It’s amazing to see the participants blossom and just smile unconditionally. It’s very rewarding,” said Lin.

This summer, Lin is conducting research and continuing to organize and hold SKY retreats as a service project.

For more information or to organize a retreat for your office or department, contact Lin at