Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mind, Body Spirit Harmony for the Special Child

From my experience teaching as a public school teacher and a Kids Yoga teacher, I am amazed at the common reaction kids have to music and yogic movement. Music inspires learning, it is the way we all learned our alphabet. Yogic movement improves motor skills, focus, and brings relaxation. I wish more teachers would incorporate music and yogic movement into the classroom, but the curriculum standards have been set. Many times before a standardized test, I would guide my 4th grade students in meditation which would relax them. At one time I had my 4th grade students analyze the song lyrics to two famous pop songs, so they could learn how to write a comparative essay. After singing the songs together, and to themselves, it was the first time they were able to understand and utilize the tools to write a proper comparative essay. Since I had previously worked at a major record label, my former boss at Def Jam was kind enough to reward my students with posters & pencils (of the particular artist) which made them even more excited. Once upon a time, these kids were looked at as the group that would never write a paragraph. I knew one day, I would have to do something to help inspire better habits, and inspire learning with music and yogic movement.

My biggest inspiration for my latest project of "music for movement" has been from the reaction of kids with Special Needs. I have had the privilege to work with some kids who have Down Syndrome, ASD, Autism, ADHD, Sensory Integration, Williams Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and various other fine/gross motor & speech delays, both through Yogi Beans and on my own. The results are amazing! One example is when I sing my "Tree" song, kids not only come into yoga tree pose with focus and balance, they also learn the song and most importantly have fun. Most of the things that we learn in life stay with us when it was fun, and often times we link a song to an experience. While my catchy "music for movement" songs inspire the same reaction in all kids (both with and without special needs) and even most parents, it is important for us to use this as a supplementary tool for learning, and not forget that it is the way many of us learned the alphabet and general communication skills. So between yoga sessions, my goal has been to complete the recordings for the kiddies so they can enjoy them whenever they like. When you teach a kid a concept in an enjoyable way, learning is the result. Between my yoga sessions, I am busy in the studio recording Mind, Body, Spirit Harmony, the Latest Zoga Yoga Project. ~ Peace & hugs, Ambria


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